On this day in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, which established a woman’s right to privacy and to make her own reproductive health decisions. 38 years later, that right – and women’s ability to access it – are at risk.
The November election put in place more federal and state lawmakers who oppose a woman’s right to choose. The extreme measures proposed by these lawmakers are at odds with the majority of Americans who do not want women to lose access to reproductive health services.
For the majority of Americans who do not want to return to the days when abortion was illegal, there is a lot of work ahead. We have opponents in Congress who are determined to undermine our right to choose and deny us access to reproductive health care. Our goal, quite simply, must be to ensure that all women — regardless of their income, where they live, whether they serve in the military — can access a full range of reproductive health services that includes abortion care.
We urge Congress to reject the outrageous “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” which would reduce the availability of abortion coverage in the private insurance market nationwide, narrow the already limited rape and incest provisions in the Hyde Amendment, and permanently deny low-income and military women access to health coverage that includes this essential care.
Lawmakers should end the divisive efforts to take away women’s right to choose and impede women’s access to basic health care, and instead focus on preventing unintended pregnancies. Today, half the pregnancies in our country are unintended and by age 45, about one-third of women will have had an abortion. Making family planning services available to everyone who needs them, and offering all youth unbiased and comprehensive sexuality education, are essential to effective efforts to reduce our nation’s staggering rates of unintended pregnancy. That should be a top priority.
Currently, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) is considering whether to include birth control services and supplies in the package of preventive services that health plans will be required to cover without deductibles or co-pays, as provided for in the Affordable Care Act. A decision to include birth control services without cost-sharing would be a welcome step in the work to reduce unintended pregnancy.
At the National Partnership, we will continue to work tirelessly to protect and expand common sense policies that improve women’s health by providing access to affordable, high quality reproductive health services – and there are ways you can help. Please start by telling your Senators to prioritize women’s health and ensure that women have access to the reproductive health services they need.