Observe the Roe v. Wade Anniversary by Staying Vigilant and Taking Action
As the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice celebrates the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the war on women rages on, and we who trust women and respect their decisions must renew our commitment to protecting this landmark Supreme Court ruling. On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court said, in simple terms, that women have a constitutional right to privacy to make decisions about whether to have an abortion. Because this decision involves moral as well as medical considerations, the Court ruled, a woman has the right to consider her personal circumstances and the dictates of her conscience.
It’s especially important for the pro-faith community to speak out now. For the past year, zealots in Congress and state legislatures – many of whom preach the sanctity of privacy and freedom from government – have relentlessly waged a vicious war on women’s access to health care. More than 1,000 bills were introduced in state legislatures, including the Ohio “heartbeat” bill banning abortion after the 6th or 7th week of gestation, and numerous bills requiring pregnant women to have ultrasounds. In 2011, 92 anti-abortion provisions were enacted – the most in any year since Roe v. Wade was decided!
- In the U.S. House of Representatives, radical and repressive legislation was introduced, including the “Protect Life Act” which would allow hospitals to let a pregnant woman die rather than provide her services.
- Lawmakers also launched a full-scale effort to defund clinics that provide reproductive health services, including Planned Parenthood clinics, where thousands of low-income women and children benefit from health programs on contraception, sexually transmitted diseases and more.
- HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled a scientific panel and rejected broader accessbility of emergency contraception on store shelves.
But there were victories last year, too.
- Voters in Mississippi defeated by 55% to 45% a personhood amendment that would have conferred legal rights at the moment of fertilization.
- The governor of Kentucky refused to permit the merger of a publicly-funded institution with a Catholic health group that would have restricted abortion (even to save a woman’s life), sterilization, contraception and emergency contraception.
- Just two days ago, HHS Secretary Sebelius eased our worst fears by reaffirming contraceptive services without co-pays or deductibles in new healthcare legislation, and permitting only a narrow exemption for religious employers.
We want to thank President Obama and Secretary Sebelius for recognizing the importance of affordable birth control to the wellbeing of women and families. We especially want to thank the nearly 13,000 pro-choice people of faith who signed our petition to President Obama to voice their belief that all women deserve the full range of reproductive health services.
Now, we are asking people across our community to join us in an exciting online campaign during the anniversary week of Roe v. Wade to tell our policymakers that we trust women to make their own decisions about their lives and bodies – and they should, too. We are central partners in Trust Women Week -- a virtual march for women’s lives. Working with MoveOn.org and 70 organizations across the country, we are sending messages to members of Congress, governors and state legislators, to support reproductive justice, reproductive health and reproductive rights.
But we need you to achieve our goal of delivering one million messages.
Use this link today to send a message in this virtual march for women’s lives in Trust Women Week. Ask your friends and colleagues to join you, too.
TRUST WOMEN WEEK, MARCH WITH RCRC IN A VIRTUAL MARCH FOR WOMEN’S LIVES
The Trust Women Week link takes less than a minute, and, as we collaborate with dozens of other groups, our pro-faith voices can have a real impact.
We have learned the most important legacy of Roe v. Wade: that we must be vigilant and fight on.