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Pro-Choice Leaders Say Don’t Turn Back the Clock on Women’s Health Care

Chicago, IL – Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) commemorated the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, today at The Future of Choice, a luncheon featuring nationally-recognized political strategist Celinda Lake at the University Club of Chicago.

Celinda Lake led a panel discussion about the future of women’s health care in the current political climate. Featured panelists included the following pro-choice leaders: Fay Clayton, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action Board Chair; Pam Sutherland, Vice President of Planned Parenthood of Illinois; Colleen Connell, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union; Toni Bond Leonard, President & CEO of Black Women for Reproductive Justice; Jerry Newton, Personal PAC Board Chair; and Melissa Gilliam, Chief, Section of Family Planning and Contraceptive Research at the University of Chicago.

 “Polls indicate that most voters strongly oppose overturning Roe v. Wade,“ said Lake, “Despite this strong support for a woman’s right to choose, on the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, women’s health and rights are being threatened at every level.”

Panelists examined the threats on women’s health anti-choice politicians who were elected into office in the 2010 election and anti-choice extremists.

Panelists also discussed the particular urgency the Smith bill, introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), and the Pence Amendment, introduced by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind) pose on women’s health care. If passed, the Smith bill would severely limit women’s health by restricting women’s access to abortion services, and the Pence Amendment would deny basic health care from millions of women who rely on Planned Parenthood for primary preventive care.

A recent Hart Research poll shows that 71 percent of all voters, including 60 percent of voters who voted for the Republican candidate for Congress in 2010, disagree with the Pence Amendment to defund Planned Parenthood. And 74 percent of voters, including 71 percent of voters who voted for Rep. Smith in the 2010 election, disagree with the provisions of the Smith bill.

“The new anti-choice dominated Congress poses a dangerous threat to women’s health care,” said Pam Sutherland, Vice President of PPIL, “Women deserve access to a full range of health care services. We absolutely cannot let anti-choice hardliners turn back the clock on women’s health care.”

As leaders in reproductive justice, the panelists discussed their united effort to protect women’s health care in Illinois.

 “We must stand united against those who would divide us,” said Carole Brite, President and CEO of PPIL, “We must stand with a clear message that we are one, and we will not permit anyone to take us back to the days before Roe v. Wade.”


Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) provides affordably priced high-quality reproductive health care services to women and families throughout Illinois. Through health care services, educational programs and advocacy efforts, PPIL works to ensure and protect the reproductive rights of each individual. For more information, visit www.ppil.org.


Planned Parenthood of Illinois


Lara Philipps
312.592.6820 (office)
312.622.6451 (cell)


January 21, 2011