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Reproductive Rights

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Hannah Downing at L'Taken Social Justice Seminar

Raising My Voice

by Hannah Downing

I was in a room full of young Jewish liberals of diverse backgrounds, taking workshops on topics such as campaign finance reform and the history of abortion in the Talmud. What could be better!?

Erika Davis

Born, raised, and educated in Toledo, Ohio, Erika Davis is an independent birth and postpartum doula, childbirth educator, and yoga instructor.

Barbara Seaman holding vaginal cap at Pre-1980 Women's March press conference

In Search of Jewish Voices from the Women’s Health Movement

by  Jillian M. Hinderliter

How did so many Jewish women come to be leaders within the women’s health movement? Eight of the twelve creators of Our Bodies, Ourselves were Jewish. Four of the five founders of the National Women’s Health Network were also Jewish.

Ask Emma February 2019 Crop

Ask Emma: Finding Love and Anti-Capitalist Reads

by Emma G.

My friends have encouraged me to try online dating, but I tried it and went on a few dates and I keep on meeting people who just aren’t as fired up about political change as I am.

Episode 2: Body of Knowledge (Transcript)

Episode 2: Body of Knowledge (Transcript)

Emily Axelrod at L'Taken

Stirred and Spurred to Action

by Emily Axelrod

Judaism never seemed to offer anything that stoked my social justice fire. I didn’t hear many calls to action in services; partly because I wasn’t looking, and partly because services felt mundane to me.

Rachel Harris with Grandparents and Brother

Lessons from Savta

by Rachel Harris

I always knew my grandma was pretty cool. As soon as activism became something of interest to me, my mom started telling me stories about her experiences growing up with my grandmother. They never ate Domino’s because the owner had expressed strong anti-choice sentiments; they didn’t eat grapes to support Cesar Chavez; activism was simply ingrained in my mom’s life from a very young age — mostly because of her mom.

Rising Voices Retreat Workshop

Addressing #MeToo with Jewish Teens

by Larisa Klebe

If you work with teens in any number of settings, you know that for many of them, the #MeToo movement is at the forefront of their minds ... Although it’s not our primary role as educators to provide counseling for teens who may be struggling with their own #MeToo experiences, we can play a part in helping them navigate this complex and multi-faceted conversation, and in a Jewish context.

Composite of At The Well Logo and Sarah Waxman

At The Well with Sarah Waxman

by Abby Richmond

Menstruation: A little over half of all bodies do it, have done it, or will one day be doing it, and yet we are encouraged to not be curious about this physical process that literally makes life possible. At The Well (ATW), a Jewish women's wellness nonprofit, is seeking to bridge that artificial (and patriarchally imposed) gap between women, their bodies, and spirituality.

Bella Abzug at a Women Strike for Peace Protest

#JWAmegaphone: Voices of Power and Protest

by  Judith Rosenbaum

At JWA, we believe that history is not only about the past; it is about the present. The events of the past year have made us more keenly aware than ever that we’re living through history in the making. And not just witnessing it—we are part of it, makers of history with each action we take.

Body Protest

(Reproductive) Justice, You Shall Pursue

by Sara Lebow

Reproductive health includes the right to have children and to access all amenities necessary to care for those children. It means a right to bodily autonomy no matter one’s sexuality, gender, class, or ethnicity.

A First-Generation Argentine Woman with her Daughter, 1936

Am I Glad My Mother Didn’t Abort Me?

by Leah Berkowitz

I have one rule when it comes to writing opinion pieces: Never read the comments...It was harder to ignore the handwritten letter that arrived at my office.

Marianne Lieberman (Thumbnail)

Being Female, Feminist, and Very Political at 90

by Sara Lebow

Marianne Lieberman is a Holocaust survivor and artist credited with incorporating the first NARAL affiliate in Raleigh in 1977 after undergoing her own illegal abortion in 1949.

Congressman Lee Zeldin

Through a Jewish Lens: An Argument for Safe, Legal Abortion

by Madisen Siegel

My name is Madisen Siegel. I am an 18-year- old, soon-to-be-registered voter in the first district of New York. As one of your constituents, and a young adult who just moved to New York–fresh from the malls and suburbia of northern New Jersey–I am concerned about your stance on healthcare, and I am asking you to re-think your position, especially when it comes to abortion. 

Doctored Rosa Stokes Image

When We Talk About Abortion

by Lisa Batya Feld

There is no condemnation of abortion in the New Testament, the Torah, or the Koran.

Fania Mindell and Joyce Antler, Composite Photo

The Translators and Spies of the Reproductive Rights Movement

by Lisa Batya Feld

This Women’s History Month, the Jewish Women’s Archive is celebrating the thousands of Jewish women who have participated in activism and resistance in the United States. We all know the names of the most famous women who shaped these movements, from Gloria Steinem to Emma Goldman: the women with the megaphones, with the loud voices and stirring speeches, the women whose names made it into the history books.

Paid Sick Time Rally, 2016

The Other Side of Reproductive Justice: An Interview with Sherry Leiwant

by Bella Book

Abortion rights often dominate our national conversation about reproductive justice. There’s another side to this issue that doesn’t make as many headlines: the right to parent.

"The only hope is shoulder to shoulder" Women's March sign

All The Mornings After

by Lisa Batya Feld

The march had originally anticipated 25,000 participants, and by Friday, more than 105,000 had registered. Most people there, like me, had not, so the crowd was mind-bogglingly huge.

Bella Abzug at a Women Strike for Peace Protest

#JWAmegaphone: Voices of Power and Protest

by  Judith Rosenbaum

At JWA, we believe that history is not only about the past, but also about the present—it’s unfolding every day.

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Isabel Kirsch at her Bat Mitzvah

Public Responsibility: From Biblical Consent To Planned Parenthood

by Isabel Kirsch

When I first read my assigned Bat Mitzvah parsha (Torah portion), Ki Teitzei, my response was one of shock and disgust. The parsha discusses the guidelines for punishing an engaged virgin who lies with another man, outlining different punishments depending upon where the activity occurs.

Harriet Fleischl Pilpel

A female lawyer who fought for the right to choose? Pilpel me more!

by Katy Ronkin

I want to talk about a Jewish lady who I’ve been thinking a lot about this past month, and in whom I’ve found comfort.

Simone Veil

Women’s Rights are Human Rights

by Hannah Himmelgreen

If anyone has an indelible sparkle, it’s women’s rights activist and French politician Simone Veil. Although she’s not a household name in the United States, she’s regarded with unwavering praise and awe in France, her home country. 

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Katy Ronkin at Camp

From Camp Gyno to Women’s Health Activist

by Katy Ronkin

The summer of 2013 was when I taught my bunk at Camp Young Judaea that girls have more than two holes “down there.” Now for those uninitiated with the workings of a girls’ bunk, this may seem crazy or even obscene. However, for us, this was just another lesson in a long line of facts about the female body I had told my bunkmates that summer. 

Marj Jackson Levin

Journalist Marjorie “Marj” Jackson Levin was an important voice for feminism in Detroit, raising awareness of domestic abuse and other women’s issues.
The Sea Change Program

Talking Abortion, Stigma, and Storytelling with The Sea Change Program

by Tara Metal

Last month, JWA's podcast Can We Talk? reflected on the founding of the women's health collective Our Bodies Ourselves. Hearing founder Vilunya Diskin talk about fighting for reproductive rights in the late 1960s and early 1970sincluding access to safe abortions, turned my thoughts to where we stand today. Abortion has been legal since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, but stigma against women who get abortions seems more pervasive than ever. With abortion making headlines again as the subject of political debate, it can be difficult to cut through the noise and hear what real women are experiencing outside of the media glare. 

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