On the 41st Anniversary of Roe, a message from Lori Lamerand, President of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.
Women across the country won a major victory 41 years ago when the United States Supreme Court affirmed our right to safe and legal abortion in Roe v. Wade. That was when the Court confirmed the constitutional right to privacy includes the right for women to make their own personal medical decisions without the interference of politicians. It’s a right so fundamental, it’s hard to believe that four decades later we are fighting harder than ever to protect it.
Since 2010 when Tea Party politicians picked up key seats in legislatures across the country, we’ve seen an unprecedented assault designed to chip away at access to women’s health care.
Last year in Michigan, extreme conservative legislators used a lame duck session to pass what was then one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the nation.
And January’s Rolling Stone had this to say about the Michigan Legislature’s most recent antics:
“Michigan’s overwhelmingly male, Republican-dominated Legislature, having held no hearings nor even a substantive debate, voted to pass one of the most punishing pieces of anti-abortion legislation anywhere in the country: the Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act, which would ban abortion coverage, even in cases of rape or incest, from virtually every health insurance policy issued in the state. Women and their employers wanting this coverage will instead have to purchase a separate rider—often described as ‘rape insurance.’ ”
Make no mistake. These attacks are not isolated, but instead, are part of an orchestrated, long-term, national plan to undermine the constitutional protections set forth in Roe. Last year alone, we saw 45 bills introduced in Michigan to unduly burden access to critical women’s health care. And according to the Guttmacher Institute, an independent research organization, more than 200 restrictions on abortion access have become law nationwide since 2010.
In a state where 22 of our 83 counties have no practicing OB/GYN, we all have cause to worry about the direction of women’s health care. We know that family planning is not only a personal family issue, it’s an economic one as well. Studies show that women who plan their families achieve higher education levels, higher incomes, and better health outcomes for their children than women facing unplanned pregnancies. For every dollar invested in family planning, Michigan taxpayers save $6.37 in federal, state, and local Medicaid costs for maternal and infant care in the first year alone. Family planning is good for couples, and it’s good for Michigan.
At Planned Parenthood, we continue to fight to uphold the constitution and protect access to reproductive health care while providing basic, life-saving health care to those who need it most. The Supreme Court in Roe affirmed the right of individuals, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into “the decision whether to bear or beget a child.”
We have fought to uphold that basic principal for more than 100 years. And for the more than 90,000 women, men, and teens statewide who rely upon us for essential, life-saving care—from cancer screenings to HIV-testing to birth control—we will continue to do so. No matter what.