Pro-choice advocates marked the 30th anniversary of Roe v Wade today with events that included a student leadership conference sponsored by the Feminist Majority Foundation. The Never Go Back conference drew 400 students from 33 states and DC to the nation’s capitol in support of abortion rights. Planned Parenthood held a rally at the Supreme Court today that drew pro-choice supporters as well as anti-abortion counter-protesters. This evening, the National Organization for Women will hold a candlelight vigil at the Supreme Court in support of abortion rights. “We will remember the lives lost or destroyed by dangerous illegal abortion and rededicate ourselves to protecting reproductive rights for future generations,” said NOW President Kim Gandy in a news release. The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice will hold an interfaith service supporting a woman's right to choose tonight as well.
Meanwhile, the threats to abortion rights were made clear as abortion rights opponents participated in a “March for Life” beginning at the Washington Monument. President Bush phoned in a message of support for the anti-choice activities from St. Louis, Missouri. Right-wing political leaders in Congress are hoping to pass a number of anti-abortion bills this year, with a Republican majority in both houses of Congress and a supportive President. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) told the Associated Press that “we will pass the first significant pro-life legislation actually limiting abortion in 30 years,” predicting that a ban on so-called “partial-birth” abortion would be passed quickly by Congress.
At the press conference in support of abortion rights this morning, several women testified to the importance of legal and safe abortion. One woman spoke about her mother’s death from an illegal abortion. Angel Foster, president-elect of Medical Students for Choice, told the Christian Science Monitor that her mother had a pre-Roe abortion, and that “that experience was really traumatic for her—not the abortion itself, but what she had to do to get it.” Pro-choice advocates worry that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, women will be forced to return to the days when abortions were dangerous. Worldwide, 14 percent of the annual 500,000 maternal deaths are due to unsafe abortions, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
In the 30 years since Roe v. Wade was decided, the percentage of counties without abortion providers has increased, from 84 percent in 1973 to 87 percent today. The percentage of Americans today who think the Supreme Court decision was a good thing for the country is 53 percent. The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press reports that 62 percent of Americans do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned. Among various subsets of the population, white evangelical Protestants are the only group in which a majority (55 percent) favor overturning Roe.
Media Resources: Associated Press 1/20/03; Washington Post 1/22/03; Christian Science Monitor 1/22/03; Gallup 1/20/03; NOW 1/17/03; Pew Center 1/16/03; Feminist Majority Foundation
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .