April 25, 2004
Washington, D.C.Usually at exactly this time each week I’m teaching Sunday school. But today, I’m here to bring you greetings from the Center for Reproductive Rights. We are lawyers and human rights advocates who are fighting in state and federal courts across this nation, and in international human rights bodies around the world, to ensure that reproductive freedom is guaranteed in law as a fundamental right.As a lawyer, I always start with the facts. Because justice is grounded in fact. Real facts about real people’s lives.Here’s a key fact to remember: In America, one in three women will have an abortion by age 45. One in three.Our opponents don’t talk about that fact because they want women who have had abortions to feel isolated and alone. But we need to talk about it because they are not alone: one in three women. Their health. Their lives. Their families.We join you today to affirm the bedrock commitments of our Constitution: to equality, liberty, privacy, freedom of conscience, and separation of church and state.Let’s talk about separation of church and state. It’s human nature to want everyone to agree with one’s religion or personal moral code. As I said, I’m usually teaching Sunday school at this hour. I too want to pass along my faith and values to the next generation.But the government should not help me or anyone else spread our religious beliefs. The White House is not a Sunday school.Luckily, the Supreme Court knows that. From Roe v. Wade to today, the Court has recognized again and again that religion stands staunchly on both sides of the abortion issue, and that women and men of good conscience disagree about its moral implications. And Justice Kennedy, just this past June in the landmark case of Lawrence v. Texas, reminded us: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”I have my kids with me here today – and my sister, my husband, and my mother – because this march is about strong families and sharing our values. We’re here because of the facts we know, and the commitment to conscience we have made, and we’re here to ensure that the next generation may thrive in a free society that allows them to choose their own destinies.