For Immediate Release: Friday, January 21, 2022
Contact: [email protected]
Washington, DC —Ahead of the 49th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, which recognized the constitutional right to abortion, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju issued the following statement:
“This year’s anniversary of Roe v. Wade could not come at a more pivotal moment in the fight for reproductive freedom. In 2021, more than 100 restrictions on abortion access were enacted at the state level, making it the worst year for abortion rights since Roe was decided. With the Supreme Court poised to hand down a decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a direct challenge to Roe, these extremists may finally have the chance to do just that.
For 49 years, Roe has been a critical component of reproductive freedom, but it has never been enough. The Senate must do everything in its power to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) and safeguard the legal right to abortion throughout the United States. With everything on the line, we cannot allow any barriers to block its passage. NARAL and our more than 2.5 million members are working harder than ever to ensure this critical bill is signed into law. We will not stop fighting until every person has the freedom to make their own decisions about their lives, bodies, and futures, free from political interference.”
Last year saw unprecedented attacks on reproductive freedom. Lawmakers across the country waged an all-out assault on abortion access, and the fate of Roe v. Wade sits in the hands of the anti-choice supermajority on the U.S. Supreme Court. In December, the Court heard Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case about Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban that directly challenges Roe. If the Court decides to uphold Mississippi’s ban, the constitutional right to abortion will cease to exist as we know it. Should Roe fall, 28 states would likely take action to prohibit abortion outright. Of those, 12 states already have “trigger bans” in place, which would automatically ban abortion if Roe is overturned.
The case at the Supreme Court is part of a coordinated series of attacks by anti-choice lawmakers to push their agenda of power and control. Last year, over 100 restrictions on abortion access were enacted at the state level, making it the worst year for abortion rights since Roe was decided. These restrictions include Texas’ SB 8—a vigilante-enforced ban on abortion before many people know they are pregnant. This blatantly unconstitutional law went into effect on September 1, 2021 after the Supreme Court failed to block it and remains in effect, rendering Roe virtually meaningless in the state of Texas. By failing to block SB 8, the Supreme Court also gave anti-choice lawmakers in other states a green light to follow Texas’ lead. Since Texas’ SB 8 went into effect, anti-choice lawmakers in six states—Arizona, Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio, and Florida—have introduced copycat legislation, none of which has yet become law. Lawmakers in nine other states—Oklahoma, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia—have said they intend to export Texas’ draconian abortion ban to their states.
The time to act is now. In order to stop the onslaught of attacks on abortion in their tracks, the U.S. Senate must swiftly pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) to protect the right to abortion throughout the United States and send it to President Biden’s desk so he can sign it into law. Passing WHPA is a critical step towards creating a world where every body is free to make the best decisions for themselves, their families, and their lives.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, pregnancy and post-partum care, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 8 in 10 Americans who support legal abortion.