For Immediate Release
Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906
Abortion Rights in Jeopardy as Roe v. Wade Reaches 38th Anniversary
Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill
Tomorrow is the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade
decision recognizing a woman's constitutional right to legal abortion
care. As we honor this milestone, we thank those whose courage and
determination made Roe possible, and we pause to remember the
many women who died from illegal abortions and all those who have been
killed or injured in the course of providing the full range of
reproductive health care to women.
This anniversary takes
place at a critical time for the women of this country. Since last
November's election, the radical right has paraded itself in new
clothes. After a campaign season with promises to put the economy first,
the new speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-Ohio), just yesterday
clarified that further abortion funding restrictions are of "highest"
priority for Republicans, and a jobs package will come later.
With that statement,
Republicans in the House introduced the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion
Act (H.R. 3). This dangerous bill goes far beyond making permanent the
deeply unjust Hyde Amendment, which currently bars federal funding for
abortion care. It would drastically reduce access to medically necessary
emergency abortions at state and local public hospitals; impose tax
penalties on individuals and businesses using private health care plans;
and further whittle exemptions for rape, incest and health.
The late Henry Hyde,
author of the infamous Hyde Amendment, admitted that he wanted to
prevent all women from obtaining abortions, but the only ones he had
real power over were poor women, so that's who he went after. Can you
believe John Boehner has called this man a hero?
Legislators from the
radical right are eager to make this moment a turning point in their
crusade to outlaw abortion care. We cannot let them. We cannot let them
because abortion is a constitutional right. And we cannot let them
because they won't stop there. I promise that if we let them overturn Roe, they will come for contraception next.
But we outnumber them,
and if this anniversary tells us anything, it's that women can, must and
will retain control over their bodies and their lives. Abortion is
neither tragic nor trivial. Each woman's story is different, and
politicians do not have a right to make unilateral decisions for all
women on the basis of their own religious beliefs.
Safe, legal and
accessible abortion is a necessary condition for achieving women's full
equality. That is why we work together and why we refuse to give up.
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The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.