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Jewish Ethics and Reproductive Justice – copy

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Jewish Ethics and Reproductive Justice

The Reproductive Justice movement supports the human rights to (1) maintain bodily autonomy, (2) conceive and birth children, (3) not conceive or birth children, and (4) live and raise families in dignity and health. The 2022 Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade affects us all, and most severely impacts those who were and remain at the forefront of that movement, Black, brown, and poor women and trans people. The Center for Jewish Ethics has helped create two series thus far on ways that Reproductive Justice intersect with Jewish ethics and with ways we grow our families: Growing Today’s Jewish Families: New Spiritual and Ethical Perspectives (2024) and Reproductive Justice, Jewish Ethics, and Family Planning (2023). All class videos and materials are accessible below.

Growing Today’s Jewish Families: New Spiritual and Ethical Perspectives

Through a Jewish lens, and with an expansive definition of family, a queer sensibility, and a reproductive justice consciousness, this class (originally held in early 2024) explores various mechanisms for becoming a parent or caregiver. A diverse group of speakers who have turned to a variety of family models –or been raised within them–share their personal stories exploring the ethical and relational terrain they navigated along the way. The stories are not exhaustive in their variety nor in their detail, but they open doors for us to think about what makes a family, who is in our circle of concern, and what children in our care may ultimately want or need most from us as parents or caregivers. In addition to many recorded panel discussions (featuring a total of more than 20 speakers), the class materials include rich resources and a reflection workbook for those who want to learn and explore these ideas further.


Who Is This For?

  • Adults facing social or physical infertility and wrestling with decisions about how to become parents or caregivers.

  • Those who would like to support them (including Jewish clergy/communal professionals, social workers, family members, etc.).

  • Those simply interested in the subject matter!

  • Jews and non-Jews, LGBTQ+ folks, straight people, single and partnered people, and those with a variety of Jewish backgrounds and experiences.

Reproductive Justice, Jewish Ethics & Family Planning

What does Jewish tradition say about abortion rights and reproductive justice? What does the 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson decision mean for access to basic reproductive health and for various methods of family formation?

Expert speakers address the facts on the ground and Jewish ethical teachings in this 2023 three-part series co-sponsored by the Center for Jewish Ethics, Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation, and the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW)

Session 1 - Foundations: Choice & Justice

What ideas does Jewish tradition offer about when life begins, women’s right to reproductive freedom, and other key questions? What is “reproductive justice,” and how can we see the question of “choice” through that lens?

Speakers: Rabbi Mira Wasserman, PhD, Director of RRC’s Center for Jewish Ethics; and Jamille Fields Allsbrook, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Population Affairs at U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and former Director of Women’s Health and Rights, Center for American Progress.

recorded April 20, 2023

Session 2 - Assisted Reproductive Technologies Post-Roe

How is Dobbs v. Jackson affecting fertility treatment and tools such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and associated technologies? What ethical issues already pertain in this arena, and how does Dobbs complicate them? And how may this disproportionately impact certain potential parents? 

Speakers: Cantor Sarah Myerson, an Advisory Board member of the National Council of Jewish Women’s Rabbis for Repro; and Milan Pham, an attorney focusing on LGBTQ+ family law, and board member of Carolina Jews for Justice.

recorded April 27, 2023

Session 3 - Adoption & Child Welfare Post-Roe

What does the Dobbs decision suggest about domestic infant adoption? In this ethically complex sphere, what progress has been made in recent decades, and what are and may be the repercussions of this decision? How might it also impact our already overwhelmed and arguably overreaching child welfare system? 

Speakers: Gabrielle Glaser, journalist and author of American Baby: A Mother, A Child, and the Secret History of Adoption; Gregory Luce, attorney and Founder, the Adoptee Rights Law Center; and Anna Arons, Assistant Professor of Law at St. John’s University School of Law (formerly at NYU Law).

recorded May 4, 2023

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