By Nancy Northup
As we approach the 40th anniversary of the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, it has never been clearer what is at stake for women’s constitutional reproductive rights if the onslaught of anti-choice measures is allowed to continue. These laws—including forced ultrasound laws, restrictions on which health-care services are covered by insurance plans, and zealous efforts to drive women’s doctors out of practice—place women at risk of grave harm. These laws demean and humiliate women and threaten their autonomy and ability to make their own decisions. They build significant barriers between women and safe reproductive-health-care services, including contraception, pregnancy care, abortion care, and fertility treatments. For the last 20 years, the Center for Reproductive Rights has been dedicated exclusively to advancing reproductive rights and defending them against these attacks. Across the United States, the Center has brought the full power of the U.S. Constitution and courts to bear in ensuring that anti-choice politicians do not turn back the clock on reproductive rights. Just this past year, the Center has blocked extreme attacks on women’s rights and health care in Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Oklahoma. But this battle cannot be waged only in the courts. It’s time that a woman’s right to safe and accessible reproductive health care be safeguarded from the political tactics of those who seek to chip it away. It’s time for women and men to send a strong message to lawmakers across the country that we are drawing the line. This is why today the Center has launched an innovative new campaign called DRAW THE LINE, calling on women and men across the country to fight back by signing our Bill of Reproductive Rights. The Bill of Reproductive Rights provides an opportunity for Americans to join together and tell lawmakers that they stand strongly behind a woman’s right to safe reproductive health care. It states: We the people of the United States hereby assert the following as fundamental human rights that no government may deny, and that our governments at every level must guarantee and safeguard for all.
- The right to make our own decisions about our reproductive health and future, free from intrusion or coercion by any government, group, or individual.
- The right to a full range of safe, affordable, and readily accessible reproductive health care—including pregnancy care, preventive services, contraception, abortion, and fertility treatment—and accurate information about all of the above.
- The right to be free from discrimination in access to reproductive health care or on the basis of our reproductive decisions.
The response to this effort has already been energizing and inspiring. A large cast of luminaries—including Kevin Bacon, Sandra Bernhard, Billy Crudup, Olympia Dukakis, Jenna Fischer, Caroline Kennedy, Lisa Kudrow, Tea Leoni, Audra McDonald, Oliver Platt, Martha Plimpton, Amy Poehler, Kyra Sedgwick, Sarah Silverman, Meryl Streep, and Louis Zorich—have signed on to support the campaign and to speak out via a series of PSAs, the first of which I am proud to unveil today. Our goal with this campaign is to collect massive amounts of signatures, so that we may present them to the President, Congress, and lawmakers around the country in order to demonstrate that the majority of Americans believe that these rights are fundamental, inalienable human rights that must be guaranteed and defended. Please join us in taking a stand for women’s reproductive rights in America. Draw the line. Sign the bill. Share it with everyone you know. And participate in the conversation online by using the hashtag #DrawTheLine. www.DrawTheLine.org