Washington, D.C. – Over 3,000 of women, men and young people from across the country rallied on the steps of the Supreme Court today, calling on the court to protect access to safe, legal abortion. This came as the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt,which could impact a woman’s fundamental right to access safe, legal abortion for generations.
Activists traveled as far as 1,700 miles, from Texas, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, Wisconsin and more, just to be at the rally today. Planned Parenthood was one of more than sixty groups organizing the event this morning. Speakers included Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America; Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights; Planned Parenthood patients, women sharing their personal abortion stories, members of Congress, and national reproductive health, rights and justice leaders.
Statement from Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“When this law was passed, it sparked historic protests in Austin. As you can see from the crowd today, that spark has ignited outrage at what’s happening in Texas and what’s happening across America. If the court upholds this law, women across the country could lose the ability to access abortion for generations to come. As we have seen in Texas, the consequences are very real when politicians shut down clinics and put safe abortion out of reach. Women are traveling hundreds of miles, crossing state lines, or being forced to take matters into their own hands. This cannot be what it means to be a woman in 21st century America. The truth is that this case is about one thing: politicians trying to eliminate a woman’s right to access safe, legal abortion in the United States.”
“I grew up knowing that I wanted to create financial security for myself and for the family I planned to have when I was ready — after I received my degree and pursued my career,” said Kayla Edwards, who traveled from Ohio to speak at the rally about her experience navigating restrictions on safe, legal abortion. “So the decision to have an abortion came without hesitation. Instead, the problem I faced was the legal barriers put in my way by politicians on Ohio. I had to go to four separate appointments. I also faced financial strain. My story happens every day in states like Ohio, and it could become much, much worse for women in Ohio and throughout the country if the Supreme Court allows the Texas law to stand.”
“This morning's rally had incredible energy. There were women and men singing, cheering, and hugging each other. I chose to attend to lend my voice to the millions of American women whose choices are unjustly limited every day,” said Angela Markle, an activist at the rally. “We've been fighting for the basic right to access healthcare and abortions for decades, and we will keep fighting until we can ensure that everyone has meaningful access to these services wherever they live and whoever they are.”
Roundup of Photos from the Rally:
If the court upholds the Texas law, it will mean that even though abortion is legal, it is effectively banned for women across Texas. Similar laws threaten access to safe, legal abortion across the country — including in Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi.(View an animated GIF from Planned Parenthood.)
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With over 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
March 02, 2016