February 15, 2015 — Key stakeholders in women's health comment on the Roe v. Wade anniversary, state antiabortion-rights legislation and more.
"[Roe v. Wade] protects a woman's freedom to make her own choices about her body and her health, and reaffirms a fundamental American value: that government should not intrude in our most private and personal family matters." -- President Obama, commemorating the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The president added that he is "deeply committed to protecting this core constitutional right" of abortion (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/23).
"[A]nti-abortion extremists strategically target a vulnerable minority of clinics, aiming to force them to close their doors before moving on to the next set of targets." -- A report from the Feminist Majority Foundation, on results of a survey examining threats and intimidation against abortion providers. The survey found a significant increase since 2010 in targeted harassment against clinics, including distribution of "wanted-style" posters and pamphlets with staff members' personal information and photos (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/30).
"Medical decisions should not be made in the Statehouse, they should be made in doctors' offices based on sound medical science." -- Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, on legislative proposals backed by an Ohio antiabortion-rights group, including multiple bans on abortion care. Conservative state lawmakers plan to introduce the bills this session (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/11).
"[T]he Women's Health Protection Act would allow women to make their own personal health care decisions regardless of where they live, and protect the relationship between a woman and her health care provider." -- Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, praising a bill that would prohibit state and federal lawmakers from enacting certain restrictions on abortion rights (National Partnership statement, 1/21).
"Lawmakers ... need to know abortion is safe largely because it is legal." -- Jamila Perritt, medical director for Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., urging lawmakers "to listen to women's health care providers" and stop proposing antiabortion-rights laws. She explained that the legality of the procedure makes it "subject to rigorous research, constantly evolving best practices and ... part of regular medical practice for many women's health care providers" (CQ Roll Call, 1/28).
"The long-term decline in teen pregnancy rates in many countries is great news. Yet it is clear that far more needs to be done." -- Gilda Sedgh, commenting on a study she authored that found the U.S. continues to have one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy among countries that track such data, despite overall declines. According to the study, there were 57.4 pregnancies per 1,000 girls ages 15 through 19 in the U.S. in 2010, compared with 14 per 1,000 in the countries with the lowest rates (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/27).