NCJW showcasing state of reproductive health care with discussion and performance
Reproductive healthAdvocating for greater rights

NCJW showcasing state of reproductive health care with discussion and performance

Organization seeks to inform and activate local residents with 'The Abortion Monologues' and conversation

Abby Kreckel holds signage for a demonstration. (Photo courtesy of NCJW Pittsburgh)
Abby Kreckel holds signage for a demonstration. (Photo courtesy of NCJW Pittsburgh)

Months before the 2024 presidential election, NCJW Pittsburgh is encouraging members to advocate for and remain cognizant of reproductive health care issues.

“We’re in an election year, a very important presidential election year,” NCJW Pittsburgh Executive Director Marissa Fogel said. “Bringing visibility to the reproductive rights that have been stripped away from women across the entire country over the last few years feels paramount.

“Our daughters have less rights today than we had growing up,” Fogel continued. “It’s our obligation to continue to fight to make sure that what rights remain, remain intact and enshrined; but also to restore the rights that we’ve lost over the last couple of years.”

At 7 p.m. on April 4 at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, NCJW will shed light on the state of reproductive health and justice by showcasing issues that are “on the table that we can do something about,” Fogel said.

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to an abortion in 2022. Since then, several states have continued hammering away.

Abortion is now illegal in 14 states, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Georgia and South Carolina have banned abortion past roughly six weeks of pregnancy, The Guardian reported.

In Pennsylvania, abortion remains legal until 24 weeks.

People protesting in Front of the Supreme Court of the United States (Photo by Lara Jameson via Pexels)

The NCJW event will include a discussion about reproductive health between reporter Natalie Bencivenga and CEO of NCJW Inc. Sheila Katz. Additionally, attendees will enjoy a performance of Jane Cawthorne’s “The Abortion Monologues.”

The play will feature 18 women detailing their “lives, their relationships and families as they tell stories about their abortion,” Fogel said. “These stories really range. Some of them are really heartbreaking and heavy, while others might have some levity.”

Voiced by professional and semi-professional actors, the monologues “exist in contrast to the real world in which women seldom publicly discuss this choice,” Fogel added. “Even though these are fictional stories, I think that women who have either had this experience or know people who have had these experiences will find these stories incredibly relatable.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Guttmacher Institute last reported yearly abortion totals in 2020, according to the Pew Research Center. While the CDC maintained there were 620,327 abortions that year in the District of Columbia and 47 reporting states, Guttmacher claimed the national total was 930,160.

A conversation about abortion is “kind of only part of the issue,” Fogel said.

Reproductive justice also includes “access to child care — low cost, high quality, child care — and out-of-school time programming … We believe that every family has the right to raise their children in an environment that feels safe and supportive for them. And there are a lot of factors that go into creating that safety.”

Fogel hopes event attendees glean an understanding of NCJW and the causes that matter both locally and nationally.

This organization, which was launched 130 years ago, is “built on so many generations of women,” Fogel said. “There is something about this as a multi-generational organization that feels deeply personal to us as we watch the work, the legacy, that previous generations did to protect women, to fight for equity for women, literally be stripped away before our eyes.”

Tickets for the “The Abortion Monologues” are available at PJC

Adam Reinherz can be reached at

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