Center for Reproductive Rights Statement on the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

(PRESS RELEASE) On the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the historic decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that recognized a woman's right to abortion, the Center for Reproductive Rights calls on Americans to demand stronger protections for women’s reproductive health and rights:

Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“Forty years ago, the United States stood as an example to the rest of the world in recognizing a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion as a constitutionally protected right. But over the years, that protection has been slowly eroding.

“While 40 years of safe and legal abortion in the United States is certainly worthy of celebration, we simply cannot lose sight of the truth—that millions of women in this country do not have the same access to reproductive health care that they had decades ago.

“Year after year, anti-choice lawmakers across the country propose hundreds of measures to curtail women’s rights to abortion and reproductive health care. And as a result, the Center for Reproductive Rights has been in state and federal courts nationwide more than a dozen times in just the last year.

“But the women in this country shouldn’t have to rely on the courts to right the wrongs of their elected officials.

“We need stronger federal protections—much like the protections that Roe once stood for—that improve women’s access not only to abortion services, but also their ability to obtain other essential reproductive health care services such as affordable contraception, fertility treatments, safe pregnancy and maternal health care. Because when physicians who provide abortions are bullied out of practice, women often lose their sole resource to those other essential services.

“On this 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the stakes have never been higher—one only has to look to states like Mississippi or North Dakota where just a single abortion provider remains. It’s time to draw the line and demand our elected officials recognize women’s reproductive rights as fundamental human rights.”

Earlier this month, the Center’s report, “Reproductive Rights in 2012: A Look Back at the States,” found 2012 as yet another terrible year for reproductive health and rights, with at least 19 states enacting over 40 harmful restrictions on abortion and other reproductive health care.

Several blatantly unconstitutional laws were so immediately harmful to women’s health and rights that the Center, along with other allies, has been fighting legal battles in state and federal courts over the last year in Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Further, the Center for Reproductive Rights recently launched the national Draw the Line campaign, which calls on all Americans to sign a Bill of Reproductive Rights and tell lawmakers that they stand strongly behind a woman’s fundamental right to safe reproductive health care. To date, nearly 200,000 people representing every state in the United States have signed the bill at drawtheline.org.