The Attack On Women's Reproductive Rights is Downright Unconstitutional

ByNancy Northup

Women’s health care providers are being harassed and intimidated until they are forced to close their doors and end their practices. Safe and affordable reproductive health care, such as access to birth control, maternal health care, and abortion services, is increasingly difficult to find if you are poor or living somewhere outside a metropolitan area. Millions of women are being denied their constitutional right to make their own decisions about their families and their future.

This is not some fictional doomsday scenario. It’s the reality in many states across the U.S. where politicians hostile to women’s rights and health have engaged in a relentless effort to choke off access to vital reproductive health care — passing nearly two dozen laws in states this year alone, including the two earliest and most extreme abortion bans ever.

The rights of women — and their ability to exercise them — now depend on where they live, and whether their state legislatures have been overrun by politicians hostile to women, doctors, and the rights of both.

This is a crisis of constitutional proportions. Action by the federal government is needed now. It is time to move reproductive rights forward and to draw the line against those actively working to send women’s rights hurtling back into the past.

President Obama has made bold promises to fight for quality and affordable health care for all women.

It is time for President Obama to live up to these promises and stand with the nearly 220,000 Americans who have signed the Bill of Reproductive Rights and who believe that reproductive freedom is a fundamental human right.

There are many fronts on which progress must be made and maintained. Most urgently, the president needs to:

- Continue to push for the broad expansion of affordable access to the full range of essential reproductive health services through the Affordable Care Act and other means—and to hold the line against attempts to thwart this progress through refusals on the grounds of personal and religious belief.

- Prioritize the appointment of judges to the federal bench who will uphold the constitutional protections due the full and free exercise of women's reproductive rights.

- Support the provision of comprehensive and accurate sex education in our public schools, improvements in prenatal and maternal care, the expansion of support for families in need, and other services that will benefit women and their families throughout their lives.

We must be able to rely on the federal government to ensure that the fundamental rights of all people are respected and protected, regardless of where they live. And there is perhaps no other fundamental right that is under more ferocious attack than the right of reproductive choice.

This week, I will be on Capitol Hill with actress Martha Plimpton, founder of A is For and star of “Raising Hope,” to meet with key members of Congress about this nationwide assault on women’s reproductive rights. We are calling on President Obama to fulfill his commitment to advance women’s health care and to work with Congress to ensure these constitutional rights are strongly protected. 

Women should not have to go to court every year, in every state, to protect their fundamental human rights. It is time draw the line against these attacks and it’s time our elected officials stand with us in this fight.