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Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards' Statement on Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

“Tomorrow marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that recognized the right of women to make personal, private medical decisions and to control their bodies and their reproductive health.  Many Americans do not remember a time when abortion was banned outright in states across the country, forcing women — our mothers and grandmothers — to resort to dangerous and, too often deadly, illegal procedures.

“Thirty-eight years later, this landmark ruling is facing an unprecedented attack — even though the majority of Americans strongly support the Supreme Court’s decision in the case.  Just this week, we had a harsh reminder that the fight to protect reproductive health and rights is far from over.  Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), opened a new front in this battle by introducing a bill intended to end private health insurance coverage for virtually all abortions.

“We have been able to defeat anti-choice legislation like this in the past, but Smith’s bill goes far beyond any anti-choice ban on private health insurance coverage ever introduced in Congress. If this ban passes, it will put the lives of women with life-threatening pregnancies in danger, and it will even curtail abortion coverage for many women who are raped and become pregnant as a result.

“The anniversary of Roe v. Wade is a reminder that advances for women's health and rights do not come easily.  We have to speak out and stand  together to make progress, and we have to do whatever it takes to protect the gains we have made from extreme politicians like Rep. Smith who want to turn back the clock to the days when women suffered terribly.

“Other opponents of women’s health and rights, who were elected on a wave of discontent over the economy, are mounting aggressive attacks intended to take reproductive health care —including abortion — away from women.  With these anti-choice politicians newly empowered in Congress and statehouses across the country, Rep. Smith's bill is just the first in what will be a long string of attacks on women's health. In dozens of states, a record number of anti-choice state legislators and governors are proposing wide-ranging anti-choice, anti-women’s health legislation. These opponents of legal abortion are also busy undermining women’s access to birth control and family planning. In fact, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) plans to introduce a bill that would strip Planned Parenthood of all Title X family planning funding, which has made it possible for millions of low-income women to choose and pay for contraception and other basic preventive health care since 1970.

“Today, we celebrate what we achieved 38 years ago with Roe v. Wade and rededicate ourselves to protecting each woman's constitutional right to make her own private, personal medical decisions.”

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate. We believe that everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, and that every child should be wanted and loved. Planned Parenthood affiliates operate more than 820 health centers nationwide, providing medical services and sexuality education for millions of women, men, and teenagers each year. We also work with allies worldwide to ensure that all women and men have the right and the means to meet their sexual and reproductive health care needs.



Contacts

Planned Parenthood Media Office, 212-261-4433

Published: 01.21.11

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