Washington, DC, Jan. 22 2019 – Today, Planned Parenthood and its partners celebrate the 46th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. During the 2019 legislative session, Planned Parenthood expects more than half the states to push positive policies that expand access to health care including safe, legal abortion. Furthermore, champions will join a broad push in all 50 states to protect access to reproductive health care — including fights in the courts, in the ballot boxes, and in state legislatures. It is more important than ever to enact state policies that protect safe, legal abortion. With the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and the continued attacks from the Trump-Pence administration, the states represent not just a critical backstop against the further erosion of Roe, but also laboratories of innovation to further expand access to care. While the threat to Roe is real, the opportunities to pass positive policies are extraordinary, as newly elected health care champions take office.
States like New York and Rhode Island will push efforts to codify Roe, ensuring abortion access remains in place no matter what happens at the federal level. New Mexico could remove a pre-Roe law that criminalized doctors for providing abortion services. And in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom just doubled the state’s investment in reproductive health care, committing $100 million to expanding access for patients. In extremely restrictive states like Missouri, advocates are working to repeal bad laws like a 72 hour forced delay and mandatory vaginal ultrasound, which is medically unnecessary. This year follows a trend in policies focusing on expanding health care. Last year, states introduced a record number of these types of policies, enacting 80 laws that expand reproductive health care access in 29 states and the District of Columbia.
Statement from Dr. Leana Wen, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“The threat to safe, legal abortion in this country is not hypothetical – there are 15 cases one step away from the Supreme Court, meaning we face a situation where one in three women of reproductive age could be living in states where abortion is criminalized and outlawed. As we approach the 46th anniversary of Roe, I’d love to say that the battle over women’s health is over, but unfortunately, our health, our rights, and our bodily autonomy are at risk today as ever.
“Though there is some good news: In November, women, particularly women of color, rose up across the country to elect an unprecedented number of reproductive health champions who have a mandate to protect and expand our reproductive rights. Access to health care is a fundamental human right, and I can think of no better way to honor Roe v. Wade than fighting to make sure that all aspects of reproductive healthcare—including birth control, STI tests, cancer screenings, and safe, legal abortion—are accessible to women across the country.”
Statement from Rachel Sussman, National Director of State Policy and Advocacy, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“Voters in 2018 sent a clear mandate to elected officials — they want more access to health care including safe, legal abortion. This past November changed the playing field –– there are hundreds of newly elected officials, including state lawmakers, attorneys general, and governors who are committed to expanding access to reproductive health care.
“Planned Parenthood is joining state advocates everywhere to seize on this unprecedented opportunity to make policy gains that will directly impact and improve people’s lives. The time is now — voters want it, patients need it, and our future depends on it.”
Over the past two years, the Trump-Pence administration has waged war against reproductive health care, stripping people of their basic rights and freedoms to control their bodies and lives. Politicians in Ohio, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Oklahoma have introduced unconstitutional abortion bans. When politicians attack health care, these policies disproportionately affect people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, and young people. This, despite overwhelming public support for abortion access with nearly 70 percent of Americans supporting Roe v. Wade — the highest rate since the case was decided more than 40 years ago. Planned Parenthood will never stop fighting to ensure access to health care does not depend on who you are, where you live, or how much money you make.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.