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Women’s League Warned About Reagan’s Social Agenda

The Reagan administration will try to push through by executive action the “right wing” social agenda it has been unable to get Congress to adopt, a Jewish spokesman warned Tuesday.

Rabbi David Saperstein, co-director and counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, told the 200 women attending the 20th biennial World Affairs Conference of the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism that the administration has given up on trying to achieve its goals through legislative means. “They will now turn to executive fiat and administrative regulations to win victories in such areas as abortion, school prayer and immigration, in which they have the full support of the nation’s right wing forces,” Saperstein said. As examples, he pointed to the continued reduction of federal support for family planning and the order to public funded health facilities not to provide information on abortion.

He urged the Women’s League members from across the nation to “be ever vigilant” to prevent this effort from succeeding.

The Women’s League cited its 1982 resolution opposing any move to stop funds or services on abortion.

“Reverence for life is the cornerstone of our Jewish heritage,” the resolution said. “Since abortion in Jewish law is primarily for the mother’s physical or mental welfare, we deplore the burgeoning casual use of abortion. Abortion should be legally available, but ethically restricted… and must not be undertaken lightly.”

The two-day conference opened Tuesday with a call to the Democratic and Republican parties to launch an educational campaign to ensure that women will have an equal opportunity with men to seek elective office, including the presidency.

“We are deeply disturbed by the American political candidate selection process which fails to exercise fair consideration of female candidates,” Evelyn Auerbach, president of the Women’s League, said in letters to Frank Fahrenkopf, chairman of the Republican Party, and his Democratic counterpart, Paul Kirk.

The letter read to the conference participants stressed that women would seek the presidency “if they felt they would be given an even chance by those who choose candidates.”

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