Roe v. Wade Anniversary: Republicans Continue to Assail Reproductive Rights, 40 Years Later

For supporters of reproductive rights, 2012 proved to be a year that attempted to undo all the years of progress made by Roe v. Wade. Now, as we approach the 40th anniversary of this landmark case, many questions are still unanswered for those concerned with ensuring and expanding reproductive choices for all women.

Since campaigning for the 2012 election has come to a close and a new year has started, Washington will turn its attention to critical issues, such as the economy, which voters on both sides of the political spectrum stated were of the utmost importance for the American public when they casted their votes. But while the American public is concerned with the jobless rate, education and foreign policy, it appears that many Republican lawmakers want to use 2013 to continue many anti choice legislation. This is not to say, however, that promoting family planning and ensuring sound reproductive health are not fiscal issues as well, but restricting access surely does not promote fiscal growth.

Since 2013 has started, there have been three abortion related bills introduced in Congress, and for many this feels like what will only be another year dedicated to the attempts to dismantle reproductive choice. As we approach the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade the outlook may come across as bleak for supporters of quality reproductive health and even more daunting for women who rely on the reduced cost services that many health centers offer.

With reproductive health, rights and affordable access being "the cornerstone to development" it's imperative that lawmakers pass laws that will improve the health of the entire American public, and not restrict access based on the special interests of a small group. It is safe to say, however, that not all hope is lost and things could quite possibly turn around for the pro-choice crowd.

In order to ensure that our votes are being accurately represented, we must first and foremost be aware of what bills are being introduced and by which lawmaker. By holding these representatives accountable, and acknowledging the fact that dismantling reproductive access appears to be their primary focus; pro-choice voters can be the catalysts that promote change. Nothing would be more disappointing to the pro-choice crusaders of yesteryear that a new generation of pro-choice individuals who are uninformed about the changes that are happening.

As we approach this anniversary, it's important to remember that while we may not all agree on the issue of reproductive freedom; however, staying informed is the best way to stay empowered. I can only hope that 2013 does not turn out to be the year to defund, dismantle and ostracize the efforts of those who worked so hard to ensure equal access.

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Yasmeen Chism

Yasmeen is a recent graduate from the UNC-Greensboro who studied African American Studies and Women's and Gender Studies. Her research interests include Black feminist theories and performance studies.

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