WASHINGTON, DC — January 22, 2014 marks the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to abortion. This anniversary arrives — once again — in the midst of a continuing war on women’s access to the entire range of reproductive health services; this includes birth control, breast exams, cervical cancer screenings and STD screening/treatment, in addition to abortion care.
In the past three years, extremist legislators at both the state and federal levels have done all they can to push women back to the days when rates of unintended pregnancy, infant mortality, and maternal mortality were high and desperate women died from unsafe abortions.
States have defunded women’s health clinics, passed mandatory trans-vaginal ultrasound requirements and targeted regulation of abortion provider (TRAP) laws designed to shut down abortion clinics. Some have even outright criminalized abortion at 6, 12, 18 or 20 week’s gestation — well before viability and in direct violation of Roe. These measures are only aimed at women; not a single aspect of men’s health is targeted for restriction.
The tide, however, is turning. Voters rejected the radical Tea Party agenda in the 2012 elections nationwide and again in 2013 in Virginia. NOW activists will be mobilizing voters in their communities, by educating voters about what’s at stake for women in the mid-term elections and making sure voters get to the polls on Election Day 2014.
Every woman has the right to have the children she wants, raise the children she has, plan her own family and make her own health care decisions. That means women must have the social, economic and political power to pursue their goals. We will not rest until that is a reality for all women, in all communities.