Protecting Choice

I am about as anti-abortion as one could be. This is for a host of reasons, many of them tied in with my Roman Catholic upbringing. But before blowing a gasket, know that I am just as passionately pro-choice. I am a huge supporter of Planned Parenthood and I have marched and will march to support a woman’s legal right to choose. I believe the government has no right to tell people how to live their lives or to control people’s reproduc tive decisions. And I have a duty to stand up for justice and self-determination for all.

That is why I am grateful for this day, the 31st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that recognized a woman’s right to choose. But, as NARAL Pro-Choice America notes, this can not be a day of mere celebration. We must work to ensure that 2004 is not the year that the rights of privacy and choice are extinguished.

The organization comments on the looming threat:

Energized by President Bush, an organized anti-choice movement is successfully taking our choices away. In December President Bush signed the first-ever federal criminal ban on abortion procedures, and he continues to pack our nation’s federal courts with anti-choice activist judges who have compared abortion to slavery, called Roe v. Wade abominable, and said that a wife should be subordinate to her husband. State governments are also intruding further than they have in years into women’s private lives and decisions: in 2003 alone state legislatures considered 558 anti-choice measures, a 35.1% increase from 2002. NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation’s annual State-by-State Report on the Status of Women’s Reproductive Rights reports that these anti-choice gains reduced our nation’s grade on women’s access to abortion to a dismal D.

Despite these challenges, everyone here at NARAL Pro-Choice America is optimistic because we know that the future of personal privacy and a woman’s right to choose relies on the vigilance and commitment of our supporters – you.

Make the Jan. 22 Roe v. Wade anniversary count: Learn how your state rates on NARAL Pro-Choice America’s newest annual comprehensive report. Then visit the group’s Web site and take action to ensure that this isn’t the last year for Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose.

Two lawmakers doing that work: Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-NY) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) are introducing the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) in the US Congress. This measure, if enacted, would secure a federal law to protect a woman’s right to make decisions about her own reproductive health – regardless of where in the nation she lives.

Planned Parenthood explains the bill:

FOCA is a landmark piece of legislation that would prevent the government from discriminating against a woman on the basis of her reproductive decisions about using birth control, having a child, or terminating a pregnancy. FOCA would also forbid government interference in a woman’s right to make her own family planning and reproductive health decisions.

One way in which you can take action is to join the March for Women’s Lives on April, 25, 2004. If you believe in the human right to self-determination and a woman’s right to privacy — stand up for choice!

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