WASHINGTON - January 22 - As the nation marks the 31st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Jerrold Nadler introduce the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) to codify the vision of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 landmark decision. The bill would guarantee women reproductive liberty -- even if a newly constituted Supreme Court overturned or gutted Roe.
NARAL Pro-Choice America worked with Sen. Boxer and Rep. Nadler, in coalition with allied organizations, to shape the bill and provide American women and families with the protection of federal law in the exercise of their right to choose.
According to NARAL Pro-Choice America President Kate Michelman, "Pro-choice Americans have urged lawmakers to address their concerns and we are thrilled that leadership is acting now, before it's too late. If President Bush is re-elected, Roe v. Wade will be in dire jeopardy as we face the likely retirements of at least two Supreme Court justices in the coming years. I am proud to stand with Senator Boxer and Representative Nadler as they make this critical commitment to reproductive freedom."
NARAL Pro-Choice America's annual comprehensive state by state review of reproductive rights laws released yesterday, "Who Decides? A State-by-State Report on the Status of Women's Reproductive Rights," revealed an unprecedented assault on a woman's right to choose. In 2003, states enacted 45 anti-choice measures - a 32.4 percent increase from 2002 -- and President Bush signed the first federal criminal ban on abortion into law. Nearly 400 anti-choice measures have been enacted in the states since 1995, making the right to choose an empty one for many women. If the Supreme Court were to reverse or gut Roe, without the protections offered by FOCA, women in 17 states could face sweeping bans on abortion.
If enacted, FOCA will preserve the right to choose by federal statute and restore reproductive freedom to the millions of American women who currently face government interference with their most personal choices.
"Who Decides? A State-by-State Report on the Status of Women's Reproductive Rights" can be found on NARAL Pro-Choice America's Web site, http://www.ProChoiceAmerica.org.