Sunday is the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that enshrined in law a woman's right to choose. At a news conference today at City Hall, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens) outlined the many anti-choice actions taken by Republicans in Congress and discussed how women's rights may be under threat in the coming year. Maloney pointed out that the proposed restrictions are moving far beyond choice, and are now also targeting access to birth control and reproductive health care.
Joining Maloney today were State Senator Thomas K. Duane, Assembly Members Micah Kellner, Dan Quart, and Aravella Simotas; City Council Member Jessica Lappin; Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union; and Fabiola Carrión, Director of Government Relations for Planned Parenthood of New York City.
"On this anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a woman's right to choose is at greater risk than at any time since 1973 -- and women can no longer afford to be silent," Congresswoman Maloney said. "Roe v. Wade hangs by a thread in the Supreme Court: with four Justices who clearly want to overturn Roe, whoever takes the presidential oath of office next year will likely determine whether women will continue to have the right to choose. Indeed, with Republicans in control of the House last year, we saw a seemingly endless parade of attacks that hit reproductive rights from every possible angle -- and this year promises to be no better."
"The upcoming anniversary of Roe vs. Wade reminds us that we cannot relent in our efforts to fight the constant onslaught of Republican attack on women's rights. With Row vs. Wade, women were empowered in knowing their personal decisions about their health would be protected and defended by the rule of law," said New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. "This law has survived countless challenges and attempts to chip away at its authority, but the Republican agenda to rob women of our rights is stronger and more forceful than ever before. We will not allow our nation to retreat backward. As New Yorkers - and as women - we must remain united in our commitment to defend this law. I would like to thank Congresswoman Maloney for her leadership on this effort. I am proud to join with her in this call to action."
"I have always strongly believed that reproductive health is a fundamental and integral part of comprehensive care," said Senator Duane. "For the past thirty-nine years, Roe v. Wade has ensured that women have legally guaranteed choices in reproductive health care. We must keep up the fight to make sure that Roe v. Wade continues to provide a strong and lasting barrier against right-wing and Republican attacks on health care choices, a woman's control of her body and personal destiny."
"Since the day the decision was handed down 39 years ago, Roe v. Wade has been under attack," said Assembly Member Kellner (D-Upper East Side, Yorkville, Roosevelt Island). "With the most extreme Congress and hostile Supreme Court in our history the assault on America's daughters is more vicious than ever. We must continue to stand our ground and defend a woman's fundamental right to choose."
"On the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we remember the courage and determination of those who fought to ensure that a woman's right to choose was acknowledged by our country," Assembly Member Simotas said. "Since the Supreme Court rendered its decision, this right has withstood a relentless, coordinated attack. Now more than ever, it is important that we unite against this extremist right-wing assault on women's rights. We must defeat the anti-choice agenda and ensure access to safe, legal reproductive care for all."
"This last year has seen an unprecedented assault on women's reproductive freedoms. On this 39th Anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision, we need to re-double our efforts both at the federal and state level to protect a women's right to choose," Assembly Member Quart.
"Our reproductive freedom is a cherished and constitutional right. We are entitled to make private and informed decisions about our health," said Council Member Lappin.
"Roe v. Wade is the cornerstone of women's health and dignity, though it no longer provides the robust protection it once did," said Donna Lieberman of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "We remain determined to preserve the right recognized in Roe of every woman to decide for herself whether or not to bear a child."
"This Sunday, January 22, the nation recognizes the 39th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. For New York, our commemoration is much more personal. In 1970, three years prior to the Roe decision, the Empire State revolutionized women's health care when our wise lawmakers passed the first state law in the nation to ensure access to the full range of reproductive health care services, including abortion care. New York's decision led the way and, by 1973, all of the nation's women were no longer banished to back alleys. More than ensuring access to care, Roe made crucial differences in the lives of American women, promoting self-determination and the opportunity for women to thrive. New York should continue being a leader by enacting the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) in 2012. A measure supported by seven out of 10 New Yorkers, RHA guarantees a woman's ability to make personal, private decisions about her reproductive health," said Joan Malin, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of New York City.
The following list details six measures considered this year on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives (compiled by the House Democratic Caucus) that targeted a woman's right to choose. House Republicans repeatedly voted to curtail family planning funding, to defund Planned Parenthood, and even to allow hospitals to deny women lifesaving emergency medical care. By contrast, during this time, House Republicans failed to introduce even one substantive measure to increase job creation in America -- the number-one issue for the American people.