300 Jewish Religious Leaders Call for Repeal of the Anti-Choice Hyde and Helms Amendments

Rabbis and cantors call on Congress on the anniversary of Whole Woman’s Health Decision to pass the EACH Act and the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act to protect abortion access at home and around the world

Background

Five years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, further cementing the right to access abortion and declaring that medically unnecessary barriers to care are unconstitutional. On the anniversary of this momentous decision, American Jewish World Service (AJWS) and the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) organized over 300 Jewish religious leaders, representing all major denominations of Judaism, from 38 states and the District of Columbia, calling to protect access to abortion at home and abroad by repealing the Hyde and Helms Amendments.

For too long, the United States has prevented people in the U.S. and around the world from receiving the health care services that they want and need. The Hyde Amendment puts abortion care out of reach due to cost restrictions that disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous, people of color; immigrants; young people and LGBTQI+ people in the United States. Likewise, the Helms Amendment blocks U.S. foreign assistance from supporting safe, legal abortion services around the world. The Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Act (H.R. 2234), led by Representative Barbara Lee, and the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act (H.R. 1670), led by Representative Jan Schakowsky, would repeal these harmful amendments.

Jewish values demand a commitment to reproductive freedom for all people—regardless of who they are, who they love, or where they live. We stand in solidarity with the 329 Jewish religious leaders demanding repeal of the Hyde and Helms Amendments, and we urge Members of Congress to take up and pass these landmark pieces of legislation.

Statement of Robert Bank, CEO and President of American Jewish World Service:

“We are proud to stand with 329 American Jewish religious leaders from communities across the country and the vast majority of American Jews in calling on Congress to repeal the Helms and Hyde Amendments, which deny people their full reproductive rights, especially people in low-income communities and communities of color in the United States and across the globe. Mainstream Jewish religious teaching reaffirms the moral necessity of ensuring reproductive rights, including abortion. We will fight until all people are guaranteed access to the health care that they want and need, and which is their indisputable right. We are grateful for principled and powerful champions in Congress like Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) who are leading the charge to ensure that access to abortion is a human right for all.”

Statement of Sheila Katz, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women

“As Jews, we are morally obligated to seek justice and fair treatment for all, particularly for the most marginalized and oppressed among us—including those struggling to make ends meet; Black, Indigenous, people of color; immigrants; young people and LGBTQI+ people. Ending the Hyde and Helms Amendments is a matter of reproductive justice, of economic justice, of racial justice and of religious freedom. We cannot remain idle while barriers to health care place anyone’s moral autonomy or well-being at risk. We call on Congress to pass the EACH Act and the Abortion is Health Care Everywhere Act to ensure that all people, both in the United States and around the world, have equal access to essential abortion care.”

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