Though polls consistently show a majority of Americans supporting freedom of choice, abortion rights are facing their greatest attack since the Supreme Court decision Roe V. Wade legalized abortion in the US thirty years ago.
§ Since 1995 states have enacted 335 antichoice measures.
§ Increasing numbers of states are imposing parental notice or consent as a condition to minors obtaining abortions.
§ The Bush Administration is nominating strongly antichoice judges to federal courts, including Carolyn Kuhl, Jeffrey Sutton and Priscilla Owen.
§ Bills banning “partial-birth” abortion have been passed in the US Senate and introduced in ten states. The vaguely worded bills seek to criminalize safe and common abortion procedures throughout pregnancy.
§ The number of abortion providers in the US has fallen by nearly 66 percent in the past twenty years; currently only 13 percent of counties have abortion providers, and eighty-six of the nation’s 276 metropolitan areas don’t have any abortion providers at all.
Now more than ever it is essential that people who support full reproductive rights register their opposition to these rollbacks of Roe V. Wade. Contact your political representatives. Write a letter to your local paper. Call a talk-radio program. And join one of the many organizations that are working to guarantee continued, inexpensive access to abortion. NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the National Abortion Federation are all groups we heartily recommend. We’ve also compiled the following talking points for further information.
Reproductive Freedoms Are a Fundamental Human Right
It is a fundamental right of each individual to manage his or her fertility. Such reproductive rights are an integral part of women’s social, economic and political rights, and have been affirmed in numerous international treaties and conventions including CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women) and the Program of Action of the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development.
The Denial of Safe, Legal and Affordable Abortions Threatens Women’s Health
In rare cases, carrying a pregnancy to term can pose a serious health risk to a pregnant woman. Whether or not abortion is safe, legal or affordable, women still have recourse to it. When abortion is illegal they are forced into having underground and often unsafe operations. This greatly compromises the health and well-being of pregnant women. Each year at least 78,000 women die around the world due to complications from unsafe abortions (13 percent of maternal deaths), and hundreds of thousands more suffer short- and long-term disability. Legalizing abortion helps prevent this tragedy–within five years of legalization, abortion-related deaths decreased 85 percent in the United States.