Celebrating 35 Years of Safe, Legal Abortion Care

Today marks the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion care in the United States. On this historic anniversary, it is important that we celebrate what we have achieved under the legacy of Roe while also assessing the challenges that lie ahead.

Roe has undoubtedly saved the lives and protected the health of countless women. As we mark this milestone of 35 years of safe, legal abortion care, we must remain vigilant in preserving this freedom so that we never have to return to the days of back-alley abortions when women had to sacrifice their lives and health to end an unwanted pregnancy.

In the 35 years since Roe, many new reproductive health care options have become available to women. These include a variety of safe and effective contraceptive methods, emergency contraception, early medical abortion using mifepristone (RU-486), and safe surgical abortion. Despite these advances in reproductive health care, a woman’s fundamental right to make her own reproductive health care decisions continues to be eroded by politicians and the courts.

Women deserve to have access to safe abortion care, free from the interference of politicians. Legislative attacks on Roe and a woman’s right to choose are all too common in state legislatures. In 2007 alone, more than 450 anti-choice bills were filed in states across the country. Although the vast majority of these bills were not enacted, several states passed extreme legislation that would ban all safe abortion procedures at all stages of pregnancy if Roe were overturned.

It is critical to the lives and health of millions of women that the protections of Roe not be further weakened. NAF will continue to work to ensure that abortion remains safe, legal, and accessible to promote health and justice for women.

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