Roe Round-Up: Analysis on the 40th Anniversary of Legalized Abortion

By Rachel Walden — January 22, 2013

Lizz Winstead, Daily Show co-creator and producer, has a message for what’s at stake on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

On the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, we celebrate four decades of legal abortion — which has undoubtedly changed and saved many women’s live. Yet we recognize there is still much work to be done.

To help change policy and to ensure that all legislators understand the basics about women’s bodies and reproduction, OBOS has re-opened the campaign to send copies of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” to every member of Congress.

Let your friends and colleagues know there’s still time to join the campaign — we’ll be delivering the books to D.C. starting in late February.

OBOS is also taking part in Trust Women Week to urge policy makers to support reproductive justice and access to contraception and abortion. You can add your name to a petition that will be sent to legislators. If you’re in San Francisco, there’s an event this Saturday starting at 10 a.m. at Justin Herman Plaza.

Many organizations and individuals are covering the anniversary today from a variety of personal and political perspectives. Below are some interesting commentaries and reminders of what has been accomplished and how we can work to ensure access for all women. Please leave your favorite links in the comments.

At reddit, two abortion clinic workers have answered a wide variety of questions from readers.

Kimberly Inez McGuire of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health spoke at a Center for American Progress panel on Roe 2.0: Strategies for the Next Generation of Reproductive Rights Activism. Also, check out the group’s new Yo Te Apoyo (I Support You) campaign and Roe v. Wade 40 years later: Latinas weigh in on abortion.

NARAL Pro-Choice America is holding their annual Blog for Choice day; expect links to many posts on the topic of personal stories and abortion.

Planned Parenthood has a 40th anniversary video.

The author at Deana’s blog, a professor of sociology, talks about the new study documenting attacks on pregnant women’s autonomy (see our recent post on this issue).

The National Women’s Law Center encourages us all to write our legislators to support abortion access and stand against restrictions.

Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health have made available online the documentary “Voices of Choice: Physicians Who Provided Abortions Before Roe v. Wade.” The film includes interviews with Bylle Avery, founder of the National Black Women’s Health Project, and Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider who was murdered.

The 1 in 3 campaign, a project of Advocates for Youth, provides stories from individuals who’ve had an abortion. The organization has also released a book of stories and resources for college campuses.

Shanelle Matthews has a powerful story and insightful commentary at The Crunk Feminist Collective: The story that’s taken ten years to tell: On abortion, race and the power of story. Here’s an excerpt:

The narrative that abortion gives women and transpeople an opportunity to live the rest of our lives, to become a doctor or a lawyer or whatever isn’t true for everyone. For some of us, abortion just provides one more day. One more day to live our lives exactly the way we want to. For some of us the decision isn’t political, it’s essential. It is essential to taking care of the children we already have, to circumventing difficult medical experiences or to just not be pregnant. There is nothing heroic about having an abortion. It is an essential part of reproductive health care.

Bridgette Dunlap at RH Reality Check describes an unusual argument for the legality of abortion, resting not in the right to privacy but in the 13th Amendment forbidding slavery and involuntary servitude. This argument suggests the government may not outlaw abortion, because “to do so would be to require physical service from a woman for the benefit of a fetus.”

Flyover Feminism is hosting a week-long series on reproductive rights.

In Mississippi, the state’s only abortion clinic may close. Coverage includes “Inside Mississippi’s Last Abortion Clinic,” from Mother Jones, and “In Jackson, Mississippi, Southern Hospitality and Food for Thought on Access to Abortion” at RH Reality Check.

Monica Raye Simpson, Executive Director of SisterSong issued a statement celebrating Roe but highlighting the bigger picture: “We need to discuss how issues such as economics, immigration reform, interpersonal violence, rape and lack of comprehensive sexual education are all a part of the equation needed for reproductive justice to be achieved.”

Jill Filipovic in “Roe v Wade at 40: what American women owe to abortion rights” writes about the ongoing struggle to make reproductive rights accessible to all women:

The primary victims of the pro-life strategy are poor women. The pro-life movement has stepped up its legislative game in the past two years, introducing and passing record-breaking numbers of anti-choice laws in 2011 and keeping the victories coming in 2012. They’ve made it not only hard to get an abortion, but to get birth control, sex ed and health care generally.

The result is that Roe’s promise of abortion rights isn’t available to large swaths of the American population.

The National Women’s Law Center explains that the health care reform allows states to pass laws banning private insurance coverage of abortion in state exchange plans, meaning that “in twenty states, a woman will not be allowed to purchase an exchange-based health plan that covers abortion services, and also may not be able to purchase a plan that provides insurance coverage for abortion at all.”

As we were saying, there’s plenty of work left to do.

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