LOS ANGELES - On the thirtieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, over twenty-five reproductive rights and civil rights organizations in California are calling upon women's advocates in the state's Congressional delegation to ensure that the Bush Administration does not dismantle the protections enshrined in Roe v. Wade.
In an open letter, the groups urge, 'With your help, our granddaughters may mature in a nation that respects their freedom, not one that offers only the stunted choices and unconscionable risks of earlier generations.' Since taking office, the Bush Administration has pursued a steady, though stealthy, campaign to eliminate reproductive freedom in the U.S. and around the world.
Roe v. Wade has been the cornerstone of dramatic increases in women's participation in the economic, social and political life of our nation since 1973. Legal abortion has become one of the safest clinical procedures performed in the United States and is 11 times safer than childbirth. For those reasons and others, more than 7 in 10 Californians identify themselves as pro-choice.
'A woman's right to choose is one of our most critical and hard won liberties in a generation,' said Ramona Ripston, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California. 'Unfortunately the Bush Administration does not share this view. Today we send a clear message to those who seek to banish women to the dark ages of back-alley abortions: we will not go back, we will fight to keep our right to choose.'
California has resisted the national trend toward growing inequality in reproductive freedom, because it has a state constitutional right to privacy, a court system that enforces that right, and a pro-choice Governor, Legislature and Attorney General. The groups say that Californians must now turn their attention to the federal government, which is poised to enact draconian new restrictions on abortion access.
Signatories to the letter include ACCES/ Women's Health Rights Coalition, ACLU of Southern California, ACLU of Northern California, ACLU of San Diego, Asians & Pacific Islanders for Reproductive Health, California Commission on Status of Women, CARAL, California NOW, California Catholics for Free Choice, California Women Lawyers, California Family Health Council Inc., National Council of Jewish Women, Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, Physicians for Reproductive Health & Choice, and Women's Leadership Alliance.