Status of Reproductive Rights on the 37th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

January 22, 2010 posted by admin

Today marks the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the court decision which granted women access to abortion services. Looking back at 2009, it has been a tough year for women’s reproductive health and rights. Dr. George Tiller, a long-time ally and key provider of abortion services, was slain by Scott Roeder. Reproductive rights have continued to be chipped away in the states with bills requiring 24 hour delays and parental notification. Crisis pregnancy centers continue to misinform and misdirect women seeking information on reproductive health and options when facing an unplanned pregnancy. Pro-life/anti-choice activists have started utilizing the disturbing tactic of posing as escorts at clinics providing abortion services. And of course reproductive rights has become a central debate in the move for health care reform with the passage of the Stupak-Pitts amendment in the House.

As health reform moves forward, it is important to remember that abortion is not the only fight. Access to pre-natal and maternity care are also essential to women’s reproductive and sexual health.

In honor of today’s important anniversary, we have released a fact sheet on women’s reproductive and sexual health. Click here to get the facts on contraceptive use, unintended pregnancies, abortion rates/coverage/access, accessing preventive care, pre-natal care, and much more. Below we have compiled a list of statements released in honor of Roe’s 37th birthday. Please add your own thoughts or recommended readings in the comments section.


The State of Roe and Reproductive Justice in 2010 Archival recordings from the movement that fought to legalize abortion, news of ongoing backlash against Roe, especially in health-care reform today. Guests: Terry O'Neill, President, National Organization for Women; Stephanie Poggi, Director of the National Network of Abortion Funds; Loretta Ross, National Coordinator, SisterSong: A Woman of Color Reproductive Health Collective. Click here to listen


Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America "Today, as we celebrate and reflect on the landmark ruling, we are reminded that deciding whether and when to become a parent is one of the most personal and important choices we make." Read her complete statement. 

Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights "Healthcare reform promises to expand affordable healthcare coverage to all Americans, and we expect our elected officials to treat abortion services as any other fundamental health need. Unfortunately, anti-choice members of Congress hijacked the reform legislation to push their own agenda, and millions of women may now stand to lose abortion coverage that they already have. The bill passed by the House of Representatives bans anyone who receives federal subsidies from using even their own money to buy abortion coverage. The Senate legislation piles on so many administrative burdens that insurance companies will likely be deterred from offering abortion coverage at all. A constitutionally protected right means very little when people cannot afford to exercise that right." Read her complete statement.



Interview with Sarah Weddington, the attorney who successfully represented Jane Roe in Roe v. Wade "When I went to the march in Washington for pro-choice a few years ago [2004], there were a million of us. I think it was the best day—except for when I won Roe v. Wade—because that day, marching in Washington, you saw families, you saw younger people, you just saw wonderful amalgamation of Americans, all there saying, “No! The government should not make our decisions.” Read the rest of the interview. 

Terry O’Neill, President of NOW "On this anniversary, we mourn the beloved Dr. Tiller, who for 33 years courageously defended women's constitutional right to access safe abortion care. And we express our profound gratitude to other abortion providers, like Dr. LeRoy Carhart, who has vowed to honor Dr. Tiller's legacy by expanding the services available to women in his own practice and opening another clinic that will treat women in need of late-term abortions. NOW's leaders and activists around the country will continue to support that mission." Read her complete statement.



Grace Lesser, Program Assistant at the National Women’s Law Center "It is this week that I am remembering how far we have come. I acknowledge the “warriors of choice,” (as Rep. Diana DeGette calls them) who have fought tirelessly for decades for the right to abortion and reproductive justice. I pay tribute to those who can remember the Jane effort (officially called the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union), a Chicago-based women-led abortion network which provided safe abortions during a time when back alleys and coat hangers were often women’s only recourse. And I also realize that it is my generation whose collective memory doesn’t reach this far, who must sometimes be reminded of the history and struggle behind our current reproductive rights." Read whole post 

RH Reality Check is featuring a series of posts on “What Does Choice Mean to Me?”

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