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NEWS: Society for Humanistic Judaism
Condemns Attempt to Limit Abortion Using Tax Code

Farmington Hills, MI, May 11 — The Society for Humanistic Judaism condemns the latest attempt to limit choice in this country by curtailing women’s access to abortion.  The recent passage of the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” by the U.S. House of Representatives is a direct attack on a women’s right to choose. Although existing law prohibits Federal funds being used for abortion, this has been deemed insufficient by those who seek to prevent all abortions.  The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” would limit access to abortion by altering the tax code to prohibit the deductibility of expenditures for health insurance that provides payment for abortion services.  Women would not be able to use their own funds to purchase complete health services and the decision by private businesses to provide comprehensive health care that includes complete reproductive services would be threatened. The premium assistance promised in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would be eliminated for anyone choosing private health insurance that provides for abortion coverage.

This act would turn back the clock to 1973 before Roe v. Wade guaranteed all women access to comprehensive health care services including abortion. The proposed changes in the tax code would effectively eliminate all insurance coverage for abortion. Once again, women would receive inadequate reproductive services and would be forced to seek unsafe abortions, endangering the lives of all women and imposing even greater hardship and risk upon poorer families. Such actions cannot be allowed to stand.

As Humanistic Jews, we recognize that all people have the fundamental right to determine the course of their own lives. Reproductive freedom is only one of the many components of this personal freedom. “Thoughtful reproductive choice is both a moral responsibility and a legal right,” said Society for Humanistic Judaism executive director Bonnie Cousens. “We cannot allow any group or individual to use their views or beliefs as justification for curtailing a woman’s right to choose. We ask our leaders to recognize the danger inherent in the course they have chosen and to cease placing such dangerous limits on a woman’s right to choose. ”

The Society for Humanistic Judaism is the national umbrella organization for Humanistic congregations in North America. Humanistic Jews value their Jewish identity and the aspects of Jewish culture that offer a genuine expression of their contemporary way of life. There are currently more than 30 congregations in the United States and Canada affiliated with this growing movement. Forty-nine percent of the United States 5.5 million Jews say that their outlook is secular and forty-eight percent do not belong to a synagogue or other Jewish organization according to the American Jewish Identification Survey undertaken by professional statisticians under the auspices of the Center for Jewish Studies at the City University of New York. The Society helps to organize local congregations and havurot, creates and disseminates celebrational and educational materials, provides national programs, including programs for teens and young adults, and serves the needs of individual members who do not live near an existing Humanistic congregation.

For more information, contact the Society for Humanistic Judaism.

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