By: Cheryl Sylvester
The overturning of Roe vs Wade in the United States left many seeking to understand the repercussions and wanting to take action. To address this issue, the Women’s Advocacy Group at Holy Blossom brought together a panel of experts who shared their thoughts on some key questions that people are asking right now. How will this decision impact reproductive justice? What is the role of equity and dignity in reproductive justice? Is access equitable? How can it be improved? This webinar discussion was sponsored by Women of Holy Blossom and presented in partnership with Reform Jewish Community of Canada, and Women of Reform Judaism. On September 19, 2022, many of us gathered over Zoom for a thought-provoking discussion moderated by Rabbi Yael Splanksy about the state of reproductive rights and access within Canada and the United States.
Each panellist brought a unique perspective and wisdom to the conversation. Dr. Martha Paynter is a nurse practitioner and professor at the University of New Brunswick. She is the founder of Wellness Within and author of the recently published book, From Abortion to Abolition, which explores the history of abortion decriminalization and advocacy for access in Canada. Kat Owens is a lawyer for the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) and Project Director for the Reproductive Justice Project which is looking to advance reproductive justice across Canada. Rabbi Emily Langowitz is the Jewish Engagement and Learning Manager at the Union for Reform Judaism and co-author of “Abortion and Reproductive Justice: A Jewish Perspective”.
Together they reflected on the current state of the law regarding reproductive justice and commented on the reality of access to abortion. The panel also discussed the need to look at reproductive health in a more holistic manner including education, contraception, and raising a child with dignity. While there are strong religious voices speaking out against abortion, Rabbi Splansky and Rabbi Langowitz shared biblical texts to illustrate how pro-choice values are supported by Jewish teachings.
Concluding the discussion, the panel emphasized the importance for everyone to educate themselves on the nature of abortion, to understand the Jewish perspective and converse with each other about reproductive health and justice. If you would like to view the event, the recording can be found at the following link. This informative discussion provides a thoughtful place to begin, or continue, this important learning.