Forty years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision, Roe v. Wade. That decision declared that women have the constitutional right to have an abortion. This single court decision has saved the lives of many, many women.
Before you do anything else today, turn to your mother, your grandmother, your aunt, and say, “Thank you. Thank you for fighting so that I may make my own decisions, so that I may have a healthy family if and when I choose to have one.”
Without these brave women and men — the women of J.A.N.E., the clinic escorts, the Dr. Tillers, and so many more — we would not be here to fight another day.
I wish I could tell you we have won and our rights are secure but the fact is that Roe v. Wade only fueled anti-choice extremists in their war against women’s reproductive freedom. These attacks on our rights are frightening: Clinics being bombed; abortion providers disappearing in 87% of the counties in the U.S.; anti-choice legislators fighting to make Kansas the first “abortion-free” state in the nation. Simply watch this video from the Rachel Maddow Show to catch a glimpse of what is playing out on the national stage.
Your support today shows that you understand we must keep fighting.
In New York State we have the opportunity to make history as we did in 1970. In his State of the State address, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the Women’s Equality Act, a 10-point plan that would break down barriers to a woman’s full participation in society and advance her health and well-being. A hallmark of this agenda is a state law protecting every woman’s right to choose safe, legal abortion care here in New York, especially if her health is in danger.
But Westchester is not Albany. Right here in Westchester County, we face anti-choice extremist County Executive Astorino who opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest or to save a woman’s life. He even vetoed a law which would have provided women the most basic of rights – safe access to reproductive health facilities. Surrounding himself with seven anti-choice legislators, all of whom voted against safe clinic access, Rob Astorino has brought the War on Women and our Families home to Westchester–and his seven allies are helping him target the most vulnerable. They have cut funding for childcare and afterschool programs that would have enabled women to work; and four of them even voted to cut transportation for seniors. Astorino’s 2013 budget cuts $3 million in county funding to three neighborhood health centers.
Unless we change the make-up of Westchester’s county government their laws and budgets will be the ones we live by. Remember these are the people who do not think women deserve safe access to reproductive health care.