vs. Wade Anniversary Stimulates Resources for Policy Development
By Victoria Tepe and
Nancy Felipe Russo
January 22 was the 29th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme
Court decision that made some abortions legal. In response, several
groups have issued reports that are useful resources for educating
policy makers and the public about the legal history of abortion
in the U.S.
*The Center for Reproductive Law and Policy has launched
a special report on the legal history of the Roe decision, its
future, the key Supreme Court decisions affecting Roe and an interactive
quiz" on the case on its Web site (www.crlp.org).
*PPFA has launched a website devoted to Roe (www.saveROE.com);
the site offers visitors an opportunity to learn the history of
the case and contact their elected representatives to voice support
for abortion rights.
*The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) and Physicians for Reproductive
Choice and Health offer a "graphic overview" of abortion
in the U.S. (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/ab_slides.phpl).
*AGI also provides materials to enable people to create their
own charts using abortion-related data at http://www.guttmacher.org/tablemaker/.
Advocacy activities, pro and con, around the issue include:
*A coalition of 25 reproductive rights advocacy groups published
a full-page ad supporting the Roe decision in Newsweek and Roll
Call (Capitol Hill's daily paper).
*Dr. George Tiller (Wichita, KS) offered free abortion care to
commemorate the anniversary.
*Attendance estimates of the annual March for Life varied widely.
The Washington Post estimated that approximately 100,000 anti-abortion
followers descended on Washington, DC, to attend the march. In
contrast, UPI described the march as 'the smallest' of the event's
history. The Capitol Police first put the crowd at between 5000
and 8000. Later in the day, their estimate grew to 15,000. Over
the past decade, police estimates have been around 35,000.
*President Bush issued a written proclamation designating the
preceding Sunday as 'National Sanctity of Life Day', and said
that 'unborn children should be welcomed in life and protected
in the law'.
Upcoming U.S. elections opportunity to inform public policies
This is a time in the U.S. when elected representatives are considering
a variety of activities related to reproductive issues. Because
all 435 House members and 34 senators are up for re-election this
November the results of this November's election could overturn
either or both majorities. Senate races are especially important,
because the Senate must confirm all Supreme Court nominees. Thus,
2002 election campaigns will offer a host of opportunities for
providing information on the impact of public policy alternatives
that might become campaign issues.