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January 16, 2003


Communications Department

National Abortion Federation Celebrates 30 Years of Safe, Legal Abortion since Roe v. Wade

Statement of Vicki Saporta, President and CEO

Washington, DC - January 22, 2003 marks the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. On this anniversary, it is important that we celebrate what we have achieved under the legacy of Roe while also assessing the challenges that we face in the coming year.

Since the legalization of abortion in the United States, the quality of care that women receive has never been higher. With highly skilled abortion providers and numerous scientific advances, abortion has become one of the safest medical procedures available to women. Providing more than half the abortions that take place each year in the US, members of the National Abortion Federation are proud to provide women with the highest quality care available.

In the 30 years since Roe v. Wade, additional and improved reproductive health care options have become available to women. These include a variety of safe and effective contraceptive methods, emergency contraception, early medical abortion using mifepristone (RU-486), and safe surgical abortion.

Despite these advances in reproductive health care since 1973, a woman's fundamental right to choose abortion has never been more imperiled than it is today. We are faced with an anti-choice Congress and White House which would like to make abortion illegal.

Many women, particularly low-income women, women in rural communities and young women, have difficulty accessing safe abortion care. We will continue to oppose restrictive federal and state anti-choice legislation that serves to chip away at women's access and the fundamental principles of Roe v. Wade, ultimately endangering the lives and health of women.

In the coming year we also expect that one or more US Supreme Court justices will retire. The Court currently supports a woman's right to choose by a slim 5-4 margin. If just one justice who currently supports Roe is replaced by one who does not, Roe could be reversed and women could lose their right to choose in this country. We will vigorously oppose any Supreme Court nominee who does not support legal abortion.

We will also stand firm in protecting abortion providers and the women they serve from anti-choice violence and harassment. A recent NAF report shows that although overall levels of extreme violence have decreased, abortion providers are still the targets of threats and harassment. Anti-choice extremists have also continued to violate the privacy of women who seek reproductive health care by posting their pictures on the internet. NAF will continue to work with our member clinics and law enforcement to ensure that those who use violence to try to stop women from accessing reproductive health care are punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Women no longer have to risk their lives and health in order to terminate an unwanted pregnancy as they did prior to Roe v. Wade. We know that legal abortion protects women's health and saves women's lives, and that is why we will remain vigilant in our efforts to ensure the right to safe and legal abortion care for all women.


The National Abortion Federation is the professional association of abortion providers in the U.S. and Canada dedicated to ensuring that abortion remains safe, legal and accessible.

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