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Boston, MA—On the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) stands with women’s health advocates across the country in reinforcing the importance of safe and legal abortion. Despite a woman’s constitutional right to make her own personal medical decisions without interference from politicians, access to safe and legal abortion is still at risk.

“As a leading women’s health care provider and advocate in Massachusetts, PPLM understands that abortion is a deeply personal and often complex decision for a woman to consider if and when she needs it,” said Nonnie S. Burnes, Board Chair and Interim CEO of PPLM. “A woman should have accurate information about all her options around her pregnancy. To protect their health and the health of their families, women must have access to safe, legal abortion as protected by the nation’s highest court, without interference from politicians, as protected by the highest court.”

In 1965, illegal abortions made up nearly twenty percent of all pregnancy-and childbirth-related deaths. In the 40 years since Roe v. Wade blocked states from banning abortion, it has been one of the safest medical procedures — today, less than 0.3 percent of women undergoing legal abortions sustain a serious complication. Despite abortion being legal, constitutionally protected, and consistently supported by a majority of Americans, opponents of women’s health continue to try to erode access, including here in Massachusetts, where legislation has been filed once again that would put up barriers to timely access to care.

“A majority of Americans oppose efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade.  Just last November, voters here in Massachusetts and across the country sent a clear message that they don’t want politicians to meddle in women’s personal health care decisions,” said Burnes. “Legislators who continue to interfere with a woman’s access to safe and legal abortion do so against the will of their constituents.” 

  • According to a 2012 Gallup poll, 77 percent of Americans think abortion should be legal in some or all circumstances.
  • According to a post-election poll from the Pew Research Center, 64 percent of voters younger than 30 said that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
  • According to a Gallup poll of voters in 12 swing states, 39 percent of women cited abortion as the most important election issue for women. Women who cited abortion preferred Obama by a 3-1 margin.
  • According to research from the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of Latino registered voters support a woman's ability to make personal, private decisions about abortion.
  • According to a 2012 survey from the Public Religion Research Institute, two-thirds (67 percent) of African Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

On January 14, more than 220 women’s health advocates joined Planned Parenthood and other women’s health advocates at the State House in Boston for a legislative breakfast and lobby day marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Attendees met with their legislators, providing information on several key pieces of proposed legislation that would expand access to abortion and set standards for comprehensive sexuality education curricula across the state.

As a leading women's health care provider in Massachusetts, PPLM works every day to reduce unintended pregnancy and keep women healthy. Planned Parenthood health centers across the country provide health care that helps women prevent an estimated 684,000 unintended pregnancies and 325,000 abortions every year. From courthouses to statehouses to Capitol Hill, Planned Parenthood works to protect access to health care for women across the country — taking action to ensure that women have access to care, no matter what.

“To protect their health and the health of their families, women must have access to safe, legal abortion services without interference from politicians.”
– Nonnie Burnes, Interim CEO, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts


Alicia Johnson
(617) 515-0531


Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts


Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts is the largest freestanding reproductive health care provider in the state. For over 80 years PPLM has protected and promoted sexual and reproductive health and freedom of choice through clinical services, education and advocacy.  For more information, visit www.pplm.org.


January 16, 2013