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January 22, 2013

Statement of NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan on the 40th Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Decision

“Today marks 40 years of freedom of choice. Forty years of recognizing that women have the fundamental right to safe and legal abortion care. Forty years of ensuring that women are allowed the freedom to make personal and private health decisions with dignity and respect and without political interference.

“So much has changed in America these last 40 years. Since the Roe v. Wade decision, our country has seen breathtaking shifts in our culture, our politics, our demographics, and much more. We have changed the way we communicate and the way we advocate for causes we believe in. We’ve witnessed the face of the nation transform to one of extraordinary diversity and hope.

“As the political leader of the pro-choice movement, NARAL Pro-Choice America has witnessed this transformation first hand. The framework around Roe v. Wade has changed from an intensely personal conversation about how women reach this difficult decision to a cold political debate that sometimes reveals a startling lack of trust to allow women to make their own health-care decisions.

“This bring us to where we are today, continuing to draw the connection between our personal pro-choice values and how they should directly reflect our political actions. Poll after poll shows that a majority of Americans support a woman’s right to choose, but we continue to face legislative attacks. Anti-choice members of Congress and state legislatures around the country relentlessly attempt to chip away at choice.

“But it is within this debate we find our strength. In recent years, women in Virginia condemned forced ultrasounds, voters in conservative states like Mississippi overwhelmingly rejected so-called ‘personhood’ measures, and, during the 2012 elections, voters all across this country rejected extreme anti-choice politicians who made cruel and medically inaccurate attacks on abortion rights for survivors of rape and incest.

“These stories have broadened the public conversation about choice and what’s at stake in our country. We listen to and draw power from the stories of women and men who have had a personal experience putting choice into practice in their lives.

“As Roe turns 40, opponents of a woman’s right to choose are undeterred. But so are we. NARAL Pro-Choice America will continue to fight to protect that right as long as it is under threat.”

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