Roe v. Wade Marks 36th Anniversary: Round-Up of Political News, Blog Posts and Remembrances

By Christine Cupaiuolo — January 22, 2009

Today is the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Here’s a look at what’s happening in the news and online.

Live Blog: Pro-Choice Messaging’s New Wave or Passing Ship?: Head over to RH Reality Check at 3 p.m. (EST) today for a live blog discussion about messaging and the reproductive rights movement.

Guests include Gloria Feldt, a leading women’s activist and former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. Stoesz was a leader in the campaign against South Dakota’s Measure 11, the proposed abortion ban that voters defeated in November 2008.

Roe v. Wade Anniversary Could Bring Policy Change: President Obama today is expected to reverse anti-abortion policies of George W. Bush, including the global gag rule, reports NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

“It would be huge,” says Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus. “By the U.S. restricting women’s rights to reproductive planning internationally, it really destroys their lives. Because they can’t control the size of their family, that affects their use of resources and food and child nutrition and so many other things. The way to increase the stability in Third World countries, frankly, is for sensible family planning.”

The L.A. Times, however, reports that the policy will likely be revoked soon but not necessarily today:

Obama aides are aware the anniversary is Thursday, but there is no indication they will announce the new policy that day.

Opponents of the funding ban said they had learned through the U.S. Agency for International Development that preparations were underway to lift the restrictions within a week of the inauguration.

Anti-Abortion Activists Mark Anniversary: “Coming two days after the nation inaugurated a president who is a staunch supporter of abortion rights, the annual March for Life — which also includes rallies on the Mall and at the Supreme Court — is sure to feel different than it did during the eight years when President George W. Bush, an abortion opponent, was in the White House,” reports the Washington Post.

Roe’s Limitations: Emily Douglas talked with prominent reproductive justice writers and activists about what Roe means to them and the women they serve — and why Roe is not enough to ensure all women have access to reproductive choice.

NARAL Blog for Choice: Today also marks the annual Blog for Choice day. Register your blog and check back here for a full list of blogs that participated.

Weeklong Blog-a-Thon: Bloggers at Amplify, a youth-led online community dedicated to sexual health and reproductive justice, are commemorating Roe’s anniversary by posting stories about what the right to a legal and safe abortion means to them and to women around the world and by sharing ideas for how we can preserve our right to choose. The blog-a-thon continues through Jan. 27.

Abortion Can Be a Moral Choice: The Rev. Elizabeth Dilley, pastor at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Red Oak, Iowa, writes in a guest column published today in the Des Moines Register:

We must also recognize that faithful people of various religious traditions stand on all sides of this debate. As part of Iowa’s Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, I educate and advocate on such issues, and I affirm that there are circumstances where abortion can be a moral, ethical and religiously responsible decision. As a minister, my job is to explore all the alternatives with a woman, invite her to prayerfully contemplate where God is leading her and remind her of God’s unfailing love, no matter what.

Thank You to Reproductive Justice Advocates: Courtney Martin offers thanks for:

… the abortion providers, the Planned Parenthood nurses, the lawyers who continue to defend our right to choice on the state and national levels day in and day out, the older sisters and aunts who make sure we get the care we need, the strangers who offer their homes as refuge, the policy makers and politicians who have us in mind, the executive directors of nonprofits and community organizations, the partners who support us through our reproductive health choices, the scientists who continue to fine tune contraception, the parents who understand, the pastors who understand, the organizers of the March for Women’s Lives, the fundraisers who make sure that abortions are funded for those who can’t afford them, the writers and filmmakers and artists who raise awareness about this issue, and on and on and on …

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