“On the 41st anniversary of the landmark Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court ruling, the nation really is at a crossroad with regard to women’s reproductive health. Women’s access to care, including birth control and abortion services, is under assault like never before. State lawmakers have enacted more than 200 laws restricting women’s access to abortion services since 2010. The House of Representatives is waging an unrelenting war on women’s health. Candidates for Congress have made shocking and deeply offensive comments about women’s reproductive health care choices. Contraceptive coverage is under assault in the courts. And abortion care is unavailable in large parts of the country which, ironically, brings us back to the pre-Roe days when a woman’s ability to access abortion care was determined by where she lived.
But I believe we can turn the tide. Last January, an NBC/Wall Street Journal public opinion survey found that the vast majority of Americans want abortion to be legal in most or all cases. The nation doesn’t want what opponents of women’s reproductive health want: a return to the days when unplanned pregnancies were even more common than they are today, and a woman had to risk her life if she needed an abortion.
Nor does the public believe opponents when they claim to restrict women’s access to reproductive health care in order to improve our health. It is callous to force women to have invasive sonograms or other unnecessary medical tests, to listen to misleading or false information about the impact of birth control or abortion, or to endure medically unnecessary waiting periods and other barriers before we can get the care we need. When opponents of reproductive health claim their motivation is protecting women’s health, it is the most cynical of lies.
Americans do not want lawmakers instead of doctors to decide how to practice medicine, and bosses to decide if women will have coverage for birth control. They know that when reproductive care is put out of reach, women’s health suffers. That is why I see real reason for hope in 2014. We urge Congress to promptly review and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, and states to begin reversing the callous attacks on women’s health. We will work tirelessly until all women, regardless of income, geography and other factors, can access comprehensive reproductive health care – because our goal is the nation’s goal: to improve women’s health.”
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.