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Thursday, January 22, 2009


NAF Communications Department

Celebrating 36 Years of Legal Abortion and a Pro-Choice Administration

Statement of Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation (NAF):

Thirty-six years ago today, the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that the right to privacy found in the United States Constitution included the right of women to terminate a pregnancy. This landmark decision has protected the health and saved the lives of countless women.

Today's important anniversary is just one of the reasons we have to celebrate this week. Tuesday, the world watched the inauguration of a pro-choice President. We look forward to working with the Obama Administration to protect women's access to safe, legal abortion care. Although it's been 36 years since abortion was legalized, women still face barriers to accessing the care they need and we urge President Obama to:

  • Immediately rescind the Global Gag Rule, which prohibits international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive U.S. government funds from using their own private funds to provide abortions, lobbying their own government for a change in abortion laws, or even providing medically accurate counseling about abortion to their clients. Nearly 70,000 women in developing countries die each year from unsafe abortions. The policy was repealed by President Clinton in 1993, and then re-implemented by President G.W. Bush on his first day in office in 2001.

We also call on Congress and the Obama Administration to:

  • Address barriers low-income women face when obtaining abortion care. Bans on public funding for abortion services have severely restricted access to safe abortion care for women, disproportionately affecting low-income and minority women.
  • Ensure comprehensive health care coverage for women, which includes abortion care. This Administration must address the need for health care reform that guarantees equal access to comprehensive, high-quality health care, including access to abortion care for women.
  • Improve access to abortion care for women in the military. Current law forbids military hospitals from providing abortion care except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. Federal funding is only available for abortions needed in cases of life endangerment. These policies significantly burden service women and military dependents around the world who rely on military hospitals for their health care needs.

We must also remain vigilant in protecting abortion providers. We urge the Department of Justice to:

  • Reinvigorate the Task Force on Violence Against Health Care Providers to maximize the level of coordination among federal, state, and local agencies and to ensure that existing laws prohibiting clinic violence, including the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, are fully enforced.

As we enter this new era of American politics, we look forward to working with the Obama Administration, Congress, and the Department of Justice to ensure that abortion is safe, legal, and accessible to promote health and justice for women.


The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers in the United States and Canada. Our mission is to ensure safe, legal, and accessible abortion care to promote health and justice for women. Our members include health care professionals at clinics, doctors' offices, and hospitals, who together care for more than half the women in both countries who choose abortion each year. For more information, visit our website at www.prochoice.org.

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