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Human Life Amendment Teach-In

NEW YORK, NY—Strategies for opposing the human life amendments and anti-abortion legislation currently pending before the U.S. Congress were mapped out at a day-long teach-in sponsored by the National Women’s Division of the American Jewish Congress on March 23, 1981.

The teach-in chaired by Marion Wilen, co-president of the AJC Women’s Division, featured presentations by Harriet Pilpel, senior partner, Greenbaum, Wolff & Ernst, general counsel of Planned Parenthood and co-chair of the AJ Congress Commission on Law and Social Action, who described the various pieces of legislation under consideration; and by Steven Matthews, AJ Congress director of communications and a former member of Senator Jacob Javits’ staff, who discussed plans of action.

Those attending the teach-in reviewed copies of much of the legislation, current articles on the subject, AJ Congress position papers, and listings of pro-choice organizations and members of both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.

Ms. Wilen said the teach-in was organized “because of the need for individuals and groups to coalesce to defeat this legislation.” She cited the AJ Congress’ record of support for the pro-choice movement evidenced by many legal stands in the past few years, the most recent of which was a “friend of the court” brief filed in support of a lawsuit brought by four physicians and two health care clinics against a 1979 amendment to the Illinois Abortion Act of 1975. According to the brief, the amendment “eliminates the fundamental constitutional right of Illinois women to obtain an abortion.” Joining in the AJ Congress brief, prepared by Sylvia M. Neil, staff counsel of the AJ Congress and attorneys Margaret Lee Herbert and Paula Jacobs, was the Board of Church and Society of the Northern Illinois Conference, United Methodist Church.