Roe at 45: Rising Above the Lies to Realize the Promise of Roe v. Wade

| Jan 22, 2018

There’s no question this past year has been a tough one for reproductive health and rights. The message from one of my favorite protest signs at the first Women’s March still echoes in my brain: “I can’t believe we’re still protesting this *$&%!” But 45 years after the U.S. Supreme Court guaranteed women’s right to abortion in Roe v. Wade, we are still defending that right and working to realize the promise of Roe for millions – especially poor women, young folks and people of color – for whom abortion care remains inaccessible.

But today, I’m choosing to celebrate our collective – and indefatigable – protest. Today, I’m cheering the many ways we joined together in 2017 to rise up against an anti-abortion administration, Congress and too many state lawmakers who think they have a right to legislate our bodies. I’m focusing on 2018 efforts to rise up for Roe – and against the lies from anti-abortion extremists, against the Hyde amendment and other harmful coverage bans, against every single attack on our ability to decide – for ourselves and with dignity – if, when and how we become parents.

I’m focusing my energy on the positive today because I know I’m standing with bold advocates and activists who will not give up the fight to guarantee access to abortion care for every person, no matter her income, immigration status, race, ethnicity or geography.

I’m buoyed by the National Partnership’s ongoing collaboration with state advocates across the country working to rise above the lies politicians turn into anti-abortion laws. Last year, we worked with colleagues in Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas on the Lies into Laws campaign, calling out these bad actors and making clear we will not be silent while lawmakers peddle lies, ignore science and undermine the practice of medicine in an effort to block access to abortion care. We also worked with Texas advocates to highlight how politicians are using lies in an attempt to sanction discrimination against LGBTQ people and harm and stigmatize immigrants and people of color. We’re continuing this work in 2018, including by highlighting the lies fake anti-abortion clinics peddle, which are at issue in NIFLA v. Becerra, the case the U.S. Supreme Court will hear this year.

And I’m energized by the groundswell of support for proactive policies to end coverage bans, expand abortion access and enshrine Roe’s protections into state law. In 2017, 21 states adopted 58 new proactive measures to support reproductive health and access – a sharp increase from the 28 enacted in 2016. Combined with expanded access to policies like paid family and medical leave that enhance gender equity and the national conversation around ending sexual harassment, this signals progress in the fight to protect and advance women’s equality and economic security.

Despite the exhaustion and frustration we all feel, I find the passion and inspiration to continue because I know that we will continue stepping into our power as a movement by rising up, rallying, writing, registering to vote and running for office until each of us can live, work and make decisions about our health and our future with dignity and economic security.