"Never did I imagine that this fundamental, logical, and progressive ruling
could be challenged- or worse- overturned in our modern society."
By Sarah Robinson
It has been 40 years since the Supreme Court decision in favor of women’s health in the monumental Roe
v. Wade case from 1973. I feel fortunate that my entire life, this decision has protected my right to legal and safe abortion, should I ever need to consider that option. My attitude is forever grateful for the women and men activists who fought to ensure this right to American women. Never did I imagine that this fundamental, logical, and progressive ruling could be challenged- or worse- overturned in our modern society. If anyone told me those activists endured the fight in vain, I would react with disbelief. That is, until about two years ago.
Currently, in the national and statewide political arena, some politicians have irrationally taken an opposing position against women and their bodies, in direct contrast to the requests of their constituents. Not to mention, in blatant substitution or disregard for dire, undecided issues like the housing market or unemployment. How did our country get here? How long can we allow the government to take us back in time?
I suppose we as citizens are partially to blame. We have let politicians use us as pawns; where wombs become the battleground. Cunningly, market generated labels like pro-choice and pro-life have boxed-in and polarized
otherwise open minded voters. Laws cloaked with the false intent for “patient safety” or movements to define “personhood” have made us lose sight of the basics of the decision in Roe. It is a question of privacy and dignity.
It is undeniable: the decision to have an abortion is not black and white. And yet, in the current political climate we are asked to make it so. It is entirely unreasonable to render one country, or even one state, capable of conforming to a single set of acceptable and unacceptable choices. That’s why I really like the new campaign from Planned Parenthood called “Not in Her Shoes.” The video helps explain how complex any given situation regarding abortion or parenthood can be. The campaign invites advocates and voters to develop a fresh perspective by shedding the old pro-this and anti-that labels.
The bottom line is this: abortion is never a goal. It is a deep, complex decision that most Americans agree a woman must determine for herself with the support of her family and physician. Organizations like Planned Parenthood, who do provide abortion services, also offer countless family planning, contraceptive, and educational services as well. Arguably, Planned Parenthood does more than any other organization to prevent unintended pregnancies, thus drastically decreasing the need for abortions. The ruling from Roe v. Wade simply determines that abortion remains a safe and legal option should a situation arise within the first 3 months of pregnancy. Without access and rights, consider the options:
have an unwanted child and all it entails, or endure an illegal operation, risking fertility and life. Let’s get real. It is evident women will have abortions whether they are legal or not. Legality keeps abortion safe. When something is legal we as a society and legislature are able to regulate it.
Personally, having access to safe and legal abortions gives me the power to construct and determine my life as I see fit. It reinforces my dignity as a woman and leaves me responsible and trusted with important life decisions. Think of it this way: in the not so distant past, a woman could potentially have almost 10 pregnancies to full term before the age of thirty.
Reproductive justice has freed women from the constructs and roles of traditional femininity. I can be a mother, or not; an astronaut or perhaps even a lawmaker. Needless to say, I couldn’t imagine how dramatically different my
life would be without that cornerstone decision 40 years ago.
Thanks to Roe v. Wade, abortion remains a legal, medical procedure. It is a personal and complex decision that should be left up to a woman and her doctor! Individual women have endured unbelievable ridicule and criticism from complete strangers for too long. Now, the threats have got to end.
We have had enough!
Thank you to Sarah for participating in our 40th Anniversary Roe v. Wade Blog Carnival.
The past week has brought us some exciting news from Congress, but also a reminder of the threat the looming “fiscal cliff” could pose to women’s health. Before diving into those stories, here’s a quick tally of support for women’s health in the first session 113th Congress beginning in January 2013.
As a result of the 2012 election, the U.S. Senate now has 46 Senators who have voted to support women’s health 100% of the time and 43 who have consistently opposed measures that protect women’s health. The remaining 11 Senators have records of variable support for women’s health and will certainly play a key role in swaying the outcome of new legislation. Meanwhile, the number of Representatives who have voted to support women’s health 100% of the time rose from 158 in the last Congress to 173. Despite this impressive gain, advocates for reproductive freedom will face 228 Representatives who have consistently voted to oppose women’s health. However, even with a challenging landscape in the current 112th Congress, we’ve seen two great pieces of legislation take root in Congress recently.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s (D – N.H.) amendment to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act
would require federal insurance providers to cover abortion procedures for women in the military in the cases of rape and incest, among other reproductive healthcare services. Currently, servicewomen must carry the full financial cost of an abortion, with no insurance coverage unless their life is in jeopardy. Last Tuesday, the Senate unanimously approved the legislation that would expand coverage to include abortion in cases of rape and incest. Before enactment, though, the Senate version must be merged with the House version, which lacks an amendment like Shaheen’s. Nonetheless, preliminary analysis
indicates that the House will most likely include Shaheen’s amendment in the final legislation.
In another example of bipartisan efforts, several members of Congress have crafted legislation designed to enhance justice
in rape cases. The Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry (SAFER) Act provides law enforcement agencies with funds to reduce their backlogged rape kits. Nearly 400,000 rapes kits remain untested, contributing to the fact that in the United States there is only a 24% arrest rate for this crime and just 6% of rapists will ever be sent to jail. Statistics show
that 1 in 6 women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. The cornerstone of addressing the trauma of this crime is being able to hold perpetrators accountable – the SAFER Act will better equip law enforcement officials to process rape kits in their possession, allowing rapists to be brought to justice faster.
The Shaheen amendment and SAFER Act are two bright spots in our current legislative session, which is becoming increasingly worrisome as we approach the January 2 “fiscal cliff.” Automatic budget cuts will occur on this date as a consequence of Congress not agreeing on a way to reduce the budget deficit by that time. These cuts will eliminate $500 million from the defense budget, as well as $500 million from domestic programs. Many of these affected programs directly benefit women’s health and some of those that may be drastically cut
because of the political gridlock include: the Maternal and Child Health block grant, Title X Family Planning funds, the Child Care and Development block grant, food stamp funds, and Pell education grants. Women, particularly low-income women, stand to lose the most if Congress fails to act to prevent this economic crisis.
Still, we must continue to push forward and keep women’s health our priority. We will hold Congress and President Obama accountable to making it their priority as well during the 2013 Fiscal year. Their first opportunity to protect women’s health will be to protect the federal funding to domestic programs that will be automatically eliminated unless Congress reaches a budget agreement by January 2.
In the meantime, we encourage advocates for reproductive freedom to use online social media to spread the news about what’s happening in Congress. First on the agenda is the Shaheen amendment, and supporters are urged to use the hashtags #ShaheenAmdt, #NDAA, and #equality4servicewomen to increase awareness of this pivotal piece of legislation. You can also encourage your social media networks to educate others about what’s at stake with the “fiscal cliff” as we approach the deadline by following the hashtags #fiscalcliff and #my2k. Please help us spread the word.
The Clara Bell Duvall Reproductive Freedom Project
is relaunching the timeless and timely documentary, Motherless: a legacy of loss from illegal abortion.
This 27-minute documentary film by Janet Goldwater and Barbara Attie
depicts the experiences of four children who lost their mothers to unsafe and illegal abortion before Roe v. Wade
. Exactly 20 years after the film’s creation, the relaunch seeks to remind us of the relevance that the issues raised in Motherless
continue to have in today’s political climate.
Join the Duvall Reproductive Freedom Project along with the filmmakers for our Watch Motherless Party
at the Philadelphia Art Alliance on Tuesday, November 13th where we will screen the film will discuss the role the film plays in the current political climate surrounding reproductive rights and justice.
Motherless’ impact depends on people watching the film and starting a dialogue. You can help spread the message of Motherless
by sharing the film’s website
on your personal Facebook
page and Twitter
profile tonight! We invite supporters to make their voices heard on issues related to reproductive health. Visit us on Twitter @watchmotherless, our Watch Motherless website
, or on Facebook
for more details about how to participate.Hosting your own house party
with 10 or 20 of your closest friends or classmates is another great way to take action and empower those around you to get involved in this issue. See instructions for hosting a house party on the website
The Clara Bell Duvall Reproductive Freedom Project at the ACLU of Pennsylvania
has re-launched the timeless and timely documentary, Motherless: a legacy of loss from illegal abortion.
This half-hour documentary by award-winning filmmakers Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater, and Diane Pontius, is the powerful story of four individuals who lost their mothers to unsafe and illegal abortion before Roe v. Wade
Exactly 20 years after the film's creation, the re-launch seeks to remind us of the relevance of the issues raised in Motherless
in today's political climate. The culmination of our re-launch efforts are happening now (October 22nd through 28th) where supporters are hosting house parties
to screen the film and use the curricula we designed on our website
to facilitate meaningful discussion and dialogue following the film. If you are still interested, house parties of any size and with any group of people are welcome! Along with house parties, we are hosting a blog carnival, a twitter festival and encouraging supporters to bring issues surrounding Motherless
to the forefront of the political conversation. At the end of the re-launch, October 29th, we will be hosting a celebratory Watch Motherless
party at the Philadelphia Art Alliance.
On the 29th, we invite you to join filmmakers Barbara Attie and Janet Goldwater
and other activists to watch and discuss the film, and hear about how these filmmakers leverage their art to support reproductive justice. Attie and Goldwater are 2011 recipients of a Leeway
Transformation Award and 2005 Pew
Fellows in the Arts.
This free event is held in conjunction with the Clara Bell Duvall Reproductive Freedom Project of the ACLU of Pennsylvania
, the Leeway Foundation
and the Philadelphia Art Alliance
, and made possible by David and Linda Glickstein's belief in the power of art to shape a just future
The October 29th event will run from 5pm to 7:15pm at the Philadelphia Art Alliance. Here is the program for the evening:
- 5pm-6pm Galleries open to those who RSVP
- 6pm-7pm Motherless screening and discussion
- 7pm-7:15pm Wine and cheese
You can register here
. We hope to see you there for this powerful screening. You can also follow the entire re-launch on twitter
and use #watchmotherless
to make sure your friends and family know about this important documentary.
Following a series of pre-launch screenings in Nevada and California, we’re excited to announce that documentary filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman will kick off a five-state, fall 2012 Choice at Risk
film-screening tour with a gathering on Sept. 27th in Philadelphia
sponsored by Pennsylvanians for Choice
The tour, facilitated by the Unitarian Universalist Association
which is just beginning a four-year, denomination-wide engagement with issues of reproductive justice, will then move across Pennsylvania. Each event features film and discussion to help raise awareness and inspire activism and will include selections from Fadiman’s Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning PBS documentary series From the Back Alleys to the Supreme Court & Beyond.
In Philadelphia, the gathering is designed to challenge escalating restrictions on reproductive rights and celebrates the collegial working relationship of pro-choice and faith-based communities. Reverend Dr. Beverly Dale co-founder of PA Clergy for Choice and Pennsylvania Religious Coalition for Reproductive Justice will join Fadiman and members of the pro-choice coalition in Pennsylvania called Pennsylvanians for Choice
including: Philadelphia Women's Center
, WOMEN’S WAY
, Pennsylvania Clergy for Choice, the Pennsylvania Religious Coalition for Reproductive Justice
, Mishkan Shalom
, National Council of Jewish Women-Pennsylvania, Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania
, Cherry Hill Women's Center
, Women's Medical Fund
, Faith Aloud
, and Medical Students for Choice
. The event will also feature resource tables from the organizations.
Thursday, September 27th from 7-9pmThe First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia
2125 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Other Pennsylvania tour stops include:
Friday, September 28th from 7-9pm
The Unitarian Society of Germantown
6511 Lincoln Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19119
Wednesday, October 3rd from 7-9pmUnitarian Church of Harrisburg
1280 Clover Lane, Harrisburg, PA 17113
Friday, October 5th from 7-9pmFirst Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh
605 Morewood Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Sunday, October 7th in the afternoon
East Suburban Unitarian Universalist Church, PA
4326 Sardis Rd., Murrysville, PA 15668
Follow the tour via WHE at: www.facebook.com/wevehadenough
After the Pennsylvania tour concludes, Fadiman will continue to Ohio where she will hold an event at one of the biggest Unitarian Universalist Churches in the state. You can find out more information about the nationwide tour by visiting http://www.choiceatrisk.org/events.shtml
and about her work at www.Concentric.org
Help show why the Roe decision is so important for women, especially as the attacks against abortion care continue. Join us in our Blog Carnival by writing a post that reflects why the decision is important to you, discusses the attacks against women’s health, or simply tells your own story or opinions. Here are a few ideas for topics:
- Doctor/Nurse/clinic worker perspective on abortion or on Roe
- Family story about abortion
- Abortion as a health care issue
- Why we need safe abortion
- What Roe means to me
- I’ve had enough of legislative priorities – i.e. anti-choice bills
- Personal story or connection to abortion
- By the numbers – abortion facts Pennsylvania & national – number of anti-abortion bills, number of abortions, number of counties with providers, number of abortion providers, percent of abortions in first trimester, etc etc. just a list of things
To submit a post for Friday please submit it as soon as possible. We will also be posting blogs over the weekend as the Anniversary of Roe is on Sunday. You can email them to email@example.com
. If you have any questions feel free to contact 215-351-5510
On Friday, January 20th look out for your post to be on the We’ve Had Enough Campaign’s Blog and we will be tweeting about it from @WeveHadEnoughPA.
Also on Friday, we will be commemorating the 39th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that made it legal for a woman to choose an abortion. Yet, despite the fact that abortion is a legal and safe medical procedure, and has been for the better part of four decades, there still exists those people who seek to undermine that legal right.
This is why we need to stand up and say “We’ve Had Enough.” If you cannot come out to one of the events going on through out Pennsylvania join us on Twitter fromnoon to 1:00 for an Online Rally. People will be live tweeting from the events and we want to hear from you why you have had enough and what the decision in Roe means to you.
All you need to do is follow @wevehadenoughpa
and #roevwade and then tweet from your own account what your thoughts are on the Anniversary of Roe and the attacks against women’s health.
Please use #roevwade in your tweets so we can be sure to see what you are saying as well!
Below are some sample tweets you are welcome to use. ·
To me the #roevwade decisions means... ·
Stop the attacks on women in PA! I am watching!
#roevwade #wevehadenough ·
Thanks to #roevwade abortion is legal but without access to a safe procedure a women’s decision is taken away.
(112 characters) ·
On the Anniversary of #roevwade join the @wevehadenoughpa as we tell legislators to stop limiting access to safe #abortion care. (128 characters) ·
Women's reproductive health has been under constant attack! On the Anniversary of #rovevwade join as we say #wevehadenough (123 characters) ·
It's our body, it should to be our choice right?
Not according to many legislators.
Tell them #wevehadenough #roevwade (123 characters)
If you would like to say more than you can in 140 character also feel free to write a blog post for the blog carnival described above about what Roe means to you, the history of Roe, or how you feel about the attacks against women’s health.
You can send you posts to firstname.lastname@example.org
The We’ve Had Enough Campaign invites you to take part in our Blog Carnival to Commemorate the Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision to take place on January 20th. This ruling by the Supreme Court made it legal for a woman to choose an abortion; yet, despite the fact that abortion is a legal and safe medical procedure, and has been for the better part of four decades, there still exists those people who seek to undermine that legal right.