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Congressman Engel: We Must Remain Energized and Committed to Women's Reproductive Rights

Congressman Engel: We Must Remain Energized and Committed to Women’s Reproductive Rights

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Eliot L. Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee, issued the following statement regarding the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade:

“The 43 years since the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision have ushered monumental progress towards improved health and control for women.

Before the Roe decision made abortion legal nationwide, the absence of safe opportunities to obtain abortions forced women to make harrowing choices about their bodies and futures. Too often, these circumstances put women’s lives in jeopardy. This was especially true for poor and minority women who lacked the means needed to find decent care. In 1965, unsafe abortions were responsible for nearly one-fifth of women’s pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths.

“Thankfully, the Supreme Court’s ruling prompted a dramatic drop in abortion-related deaths: roughly 40 women per million live births in 1970 to eight in 1976. According to the Guttmacher Institute, this improvement can be traced to the increased availability of safe, legal abortion services.

“Women’s ability to exercise autonomy over their bodies has also coincided with enhanced socioeconomic prospects. The Supreme Court noted in its 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling that ‘[t]he ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.’ In affirming women’s right to choose, the Court concurrently affirmed women’s right to determine their academic and professional futures.

“It is clear that Roe shepherded substantial progress for American women. However, myriad challenges remain. During this Congress, the House Majority has repeatedly attempted to constrain women’s right to choose. Concurrently, overly burdensome state laws have made it increasingly difficult for women to access abortion services and, this year, the Supreme Court’s decision on Whole Women’s Health v. Cole will determine the future of such laws.

“In the face of these challenges, we must remain energized and committed. Throughout my 27 years in Congress, I have been an unwavering champion of women’s reproductive health. As I have said before, I should not be making decisions about what is best for a woman and her body: she should, and her doctor should. I will continue working to protect women’s ability to make those decisions, and to protect the progress our country has made over the last 43 years.”