Yesterday, the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade celebrated 39 years recognizing a woman’s constitutional right to privacy and her body. To celebrate, President Obama released the following statement:
As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right. While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue- no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant woman and mothers, reduce the need for abortion, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption. And as we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.
The President’s support of reproductive rights is critical, particularly in this time of attack on those rights. In 2011, there have been more abortion restrictions than in all of Roe v. Wade’s history. According to a NARAL report, 26 states enacted one or more anti-choice measures with a total of 69 laws curtailing abortion, more than double the laws passed in 2010.
While the President proclaims important matters in this statement, I have issues with his stance on reducing the need for abortion. Abortion has been a procedure practiced since the beginning of time. You can learn more about its history through the artwork of Heather Ault. Yet, people continue to portray abortion in a negative light and as something that must be avoided or minimized. I believe this contributes to the stigma surrounding abortion, which is a major global barrier to achieving access to abortion. Women from all walks of life have abortions for a variety of reasons. It will always be needed. The following video from the Guttmacher Institute portrays abortion in the U.S.
On the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, make a stand for women’s basic rights. Join over 70 reproductive justice, reproductive rights, and reproductive health groups in online mobilization. You can also share your personal story how Roe v. Wade changed your life. By making your voice heard, you can break the silence around abortion and help to destigmatize it. In the words of women’s health advocates,
it is not too much to hope that in the future women who terminate unwanted or unhealthy pregnancies and doctors who assist them might not be perceived as tainted or discredited, but rather normal and even respectable within the context of their families, their communities and their lives