NCJW Vows to Defend 30 Years of Reproductive Freedom for Women

January 22, 2003, Washington, DC – To mark the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court decision that affirmed the right of women to choose abortion, the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) has vowed to redouble its efforts to ensure that Roe is not overturned by the Supreme Court or weakened by hostile lower courts. NCJW National President Marsha Atkind issued the following statement:

"Today we salute the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision which was a critical step in the emancipation of women – as critical in many ways as gaining the right to vote. Women cannot be full equal participants in society unless they can make decisions about their own health and fertility. Yet the right to choose abortion and the right to privacy on which it is based have been under attack from the moment Roe v. Wade was decided. That decision now hangs by a thread in the Supreme Court, where it has survived in a series of 5-4 votes.

"This Roe anniversary could well be the last if federal courts – appellate courts and the Supreme Court – are packed with right-wing, anti-choice jurists. No one wants to return to the days of dangerous back-alley abortions that cost so many women their lives and health just a few decades ago. As a Jewish organization, NCJW understands what it means to have fundamental rights and liberties stripped away. Through BenchMark: NCJW's Campaign to Save Roe, the National Council of Jewish Women has pledged to mobilize its own members, the larger Jewish community, and others to ensure that the Senate confirms only those judicial nominees who express a commitment to constitutional rights, especially reproductive rights. We are committed to safeguarding the future of Roe in the courts and to ensuring reproductive freedom for all women."

NCJW is a volunteer organization, inspired by Jewish values, that works to improve the quality of life for women, children and families and to ensure individual rights and freedoms through research, education, advocacy, and community service programs initiated by its network of 90,000 volunteers, supporters and members nationwide. It has launched BenchMark: NCJW's Campaign to Save Roe, a national effort to educate and mobilize NCJW members, the Jewish community, and friends and allies everywhere to promote a federal bench with judges that support fundamental freedoms, including a woman's right to choose.