By Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney
In the nearly half a century since the Supreme Court affirmed in the historic Roe v. Wade decision that a woman’s right to an abortion was protected by the Constitution, we have seen countless attempts by abortion opponents to strip millions of women of this right. But this year has been especially shocking.
Since January, more than 300 anti-choice, anti-women bills have been introduced across the country. In numerous recent cases, states have passed legislation that would effectively be statewide abortion bans.
This is a war on women. And we will not go back.
One by one, these draconian laws are being struck down in the courts. But the threats to women’s healthcare persist. The legislators spearheading this legislative strategy are aiming to control women. They want to take away women’s right to make decisions about our own bodies. They want to shame women who make choices they don’t agree with or even imprison them and their doctors.
These bills are dangerous for women, girls, transgender and non-binary people, and particularly for those living in poverty and people of color. This effort to take away a person’s choice over their own medical decisions is completely unacceptable.
Abortion is a constitutionally-protected legitimate medical procedure. Put simply, abortion care is health care. Alabama’s new law would imprison doctors for 99 years for performing an abortion – with no exception for rape or incest. In what world does it make sense for a doctor to face a longer sentence for performing a medical procedure than the one faced by the individual who raped and impregnated their patient?
The true intent behind these bills is exposed when you consider what anti-abortion lawmakers also often oppose, like adequate funding for the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP), more funding for public schools and teachers to give students a brighter future and the WIC program that helps struggling mothers take care of themselves during pregnancy and their babies after birth. What do these political positions have in common? They disproportionately harm women.
For decades, anti-choice advocates have chipped away at abortion access, endangering women every step of the way and if we allow these most recent bills to stand – the ones passed in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Utah – women’s health, security and wellbeing will suffer, and many women will die.
I support women’s right to an abortion, because I support women – because I believe in their value, that we deserve equal bodily autonomy to men and that the only person who should have control over your body is you.
Women deserve the right to decide if, when and with whom they have children. I stand with all those protesting across the country. I stand with all those who have offered up their homes in pro-choice states to those who are scared to go to clinics in their hometowns. In fact, I stand with the majority of this country who does not want Roe v. Wade to be overturned.
That is why I was proud to join my colleagues this week in introducing a resolution making it clear that Congress supports access to abortion, that reproductive rights are fundamental human rights. I have spent the majority of my career fighting to preserve women’s rights that we thought we had already won. My commitment to defend against any roll back of women’s rights and women’s equality is resolute.
It’s been 100 years since women won the right to vote and we now have more than 100 women in Congress. For the first time, we have a solid pro-choice majority and the ability to pass pro-choice legislation like the Women’s Health Protection Act, which we introduced on Friday and my Access to Birth Control Act that I introduced with Senator Cory Booker last month. Women will never be equal until we have full control over our bodies.