After Dobbs: Jewish Advocacy for Abortion Rights  

Date: Sep 11, 2023

Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Sponsor: Public Lectures and Events

Location: JTS

Category: Public Lectures & Events

After Dobbs: Jewish Advocacy for Abortion Rights
A Film Screening and Panel Discussion

The Bernard G. Segal Memorial Lecture in Law and Ethics

Monday, September 11, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. ET
In-Person at JTS  
3080 Broadway (at 122nd Street) 
New York City 

Last summer, the US Supreme Court overturned 50 years of constitutional protection for abortion. Since the landmark ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, many states have banned or severely limited abortion access, leading the Jewish community to become increasingly involved in advocacy efforts around abortion rights.  

Join us for a screening of the acclaimed new documentary short “Under G-d.” The film, which will be introduced by its award-winning director and producer Paula Eiselt, chronicles efforts by members of the Jewish community to ensure abortion access, including the successful legal challenge of an Indiana abortion ban based on the principle of religious freedom.  

Following the screening, we’ll hear from two experts on abortion rights: Dr. Michal Raucher (JTS List College, ‘05), scholar of reproduction and religion and Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University, and Dr. Christine Ryan, Associate Director of Columbia Law School’s Law, Rights, and Religion Project, who directs its program on religious liberty and reproductive rights. Our speakers will reflect on various legal strategies to counter abortion restrictions and their prospects for broader, long-term success, as well as other initiatives within and beyond the Jewish community to secure and support the right to abortion. 

Admission is free, but reservations are required.  

This program will not be live-streamed, but a recording of the panel discussion will be posted on the JTS website at www.jtsa.edu/torah and on JTS’s YouTube channel

About the Program 

“Under G-d” is a documentary short film, which premiered as an official selection of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, about the Jewish response to the US Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, told through the lived experiences of impacted Jewish women and the various lawsuits currently being brought by rabbis, Jewish organizations, and interfaith leaders challenging the overturning of Roe v. Wade state by state. Through the lens of maintaining the separation of church and state, these nationwide efforts are predicated on ultimately protecting religious freedom—and democracy—for all. The film weaves together the stories of a Jewish mother and activist in Indiana; a rabbi in Florida; and lawyers throughout the country who are seeking to fight abortion bans in part by placing them in the legal and cultural context of religious freedom. The film was produced and directed by Paula Eiselt and produced by Darcy McKinnon.    

Dr. Michal Raucher is Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University. Her research lies at the intersection of the anthropology of women in Judaism, reproductive ethics, and religious authority, and she has a background in religion, gender studies, anthropology, and bioethics. Her first book was Conceiving Agency: Reproductive Authority among Haredi Women, and she is working on a new book, The New Rabbis, which explores how religious authority is changing within American Orthodox Judaism with a focus on women rabbis. She is currently conducting research on abortion and religion in America, and has been teaching public audiences for several years on issues related to reproduction and abortion among Jews and in Jewish texts. Her work has been featured in NBC News, JTA, the Conversation, and the Feminist Studies in Religion blog, and she has been quoted in the New York Times. She has degrees from Columbia University, JTS, and University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD from Northwestern University.  

Dr. Christine Ryan, a reproductive rights attorney, is Associate Director of Columbia Law School’s Law, Rights, and Religion Project, where she directs its religious liberty and reproductive rights program. Prior to her position at Columbia, she was the legal director of the Global Justice Center in New York, where she led the center’s legal and advocacy work on reproductive rights. She also served as senior legal and gender advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief for four years, where she documented human rights violations globally and worked with countries to enhance protections for religious minorities. A scholar of gender, human, and constitutional rights, she holds an SJD (Doctor of Juridical Science) from Duke University School of Law as well as degrees from University College London and University College Cork in Ireland. 

About the Segal Memorial Lecture 

The annual Bernard G. Segal Memorial Lecture was established by JTS in honor of the late philanthropist and community leader. Mr. Segal was the first Jewish president of the American Bar Association and the first Jewish chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association. 

General Information 

  • Please arrive 15–20 minutes prior to the program for check-in. 
  • JTS is wheelchair accessible. So that we can best accommodate you, please notify us at least three business days in advance at [email protected] about guests who will be in a wheelchair or have any other special needs. 
  • ASL interpretation is available upon request. Please notify us at [email protected] at least 10 business days prior to the program and indicate “ASL Request” in the subject line so that we can arrange for an interpreter.