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31 State Legislators from 15 States on What Roe v. Wade Means to Them

January 2020

On the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, on the heels of a record-breaking year of bans on abortion, state legislators on SiX’s Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council (RFLC), a first of its kind cohort of over 425 state legislators across 46 states, are speaking out on what this Roe anniversary means to them.

See below for quotes from legislators from 15 states.

Arizona

“Arizona has an archaic law that criminalizes women for having abortions so Roe v. Wade is fundamental to ensuring women in Arizona have their right to choose.  Recently I traveled to El Salvador and had a glimpse of what a full abortion ban would look like and unfortunately our biggest fear to see women in jail was a reality.  We cannot become El Salvador, we must raise our voices and our power to fight for our rights.” –Representative Raquel Terán (Arizona, District 30)

Florida

The historic ruling of Roe v. Wade in 1973 has provided women with options regarding their bodily autonomy for the past four decades. I am inspired by my predecessors who have advocated so passionately and fought so hard on behalf of women and their reproductive rights. I look forward to continuing that legacy in the years to come and will honor the women of yesterday and tomorrow by fighting hard in the Florida Senate to ensure women maintain the right to choose.” – Senator Lori Berman (Florida, District 31)

“The 47th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade is a reminder that we must go beyond Roe in protecting access to a safe and legal abortion.  We need to fight not only at the federal level to protect reproductive freedom but at a local level too. In Florida, we’re facing another politically motivated restriction to abortion care, one that judges young people. We won’t let is pass without a fight.” –Representative Anna V. Eskamani (Florida, District 47)

“The Roe v. Wade anniversary matters so much because thousands of fearless warriors fought for women like me. I pay that forward by tirelessly working to ensure that current and future generations of women have the freedom to make their own private and personal decisions. It is imperative we trust, believe and support women because we know what is best for our bodies and our future.” Representative Cindy Polo (Florida, District 103)

Georgia

“In Georgia, I’ve proposed a bill allowing patients to bypass needless hurdles to abortion care, because women should not have unnecessary impediments to their constitutional right to choose.” –Representative Dar’shun Kendrick (Georgia, District 93)

Louisiana

“So many of us in the south ARE pro-choice! No one has the right to tell you what to do with your body, and we have been and will continue to work hard to defend this right.” –Representative Mandie Landry (Louisiana, District 91)

Massachusetts

“Considering the Supreme Court has only been in existence for 230 years, the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade is a testament to its monumental significance and precedential value. It is unbelievable that still we must take action at the state level to protect women’s reproductive rights. I am proud that Massachusetts has been a strong leader nationwide in championing reproductive health and a woman’s right to choose.” –Representative Tram T. Nguyen, Esq. (Massachusetts, District 18th Essex)

“While we celebrate the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we have to acknowledge that many have tried to chip away at reproductive freedoms since that ruling, making it prohibitively expensive to access care and limiting where care can be provided. State legislators need to dig in to address rising costs and clinic closures. Even in Massachusetts, patients struggle to afford later  procedures and must travel to other states to get care. Young people are required to go before a judge, who is not a mandated reporter, to determine whether they are mature enough to obtain a procedure or to become parents. These are issues with which Massachusetts must grapple if we truly wish to ensure that basic health care is affordable and accessible to all.” Lindsay Sabadosa, State Representative to the MA General Court, 1st Hampshire District

Maryland

“I’m so proud to be a member of the Maryland General Assembly, a body that has taken decisive action to protect a woman’s right to choose in the face of federal efforts to roll back the clock on women’s access to the fullest array of reproductive healthcare options.” –Delegate Shelly Hettleman (Maryland, District 11)

“This deeply personal issue has no place in the realm of politics.  As always, I trust women, their families and their doctors to make decisions about their reproductive healthcare.  Who decides? Women. Period.” –Delegate Anne Kaiser (Maryland, District 14)

“Every person should have the right to decide when they want to be a parent. Period. As a new mother and a lawmaker, my lived experiences have shown me that becoming a parent is one of the most transformational changes that can take place in your life. On the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, protecting our reproductive freedoms have renewed importance. Delegate Lesley Lopez (Maryland, District 39)

“Reproductive rights are one of the most fundamental rights we have. On the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I am proud of the work we have done in Maryland to protect and expand reproductive rights, health and justice. We all must work together to ensure women have access to reproductive health care, no matter where they live or how much money they have.” –Delegate Sara Love (Maryland, District 16)

“No topic related to equal rights has aroused as much passion as the right of women to make decisions about our own bodies.” –Delegate Karen Lewis Young (Maryland, District 3A)

Michigan

“The right to an abortion as granted in Roe v. Wade has brought with it significant empowerment for all women to be the director of their lives and have their own agency in their reproductive health care. Reproductive rights have been under attack in Michigan since before I took office, and that fight isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it’s getting worse. And it’s imperative we continue to fight these attacks on reproductive autonomy and freedom, because not having such rights will only return people who can become pregnant to vulnerable and life-threatening situations more frequently.” –Senator Erika Geiss (Michigan, District 6)

Montana

Roe v. Wade was decided a few years before I was born. I have never lived in a country where the laws did not protect the Constitutional right to make my own medical decisions. As a Montana state legislator, I cannot believe there are serious attempts to turn back the clock to an age before all women had recognized reproductive freedom. That is not liberty or justice.” Representative Ellie Hill (Montana, District 90)

Nebraska

“I’m proud to be part of a strong coalition of Nebraska advocates and lawmakers fighting to reduce barriers to reproductive health care. A woman’s health, not politics, should guide important medical decisions at every point in pregnancy. I celebrate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade because I trust women to  make health care decisions that are best for them.” Senator Megan Hunt (Nebraska, District 8)

New Jersey

“As a state legislator, the commemoration of Roe v. Wade is not only a reminder of a woman’s right to safe reproductive healthcare options, but also a call to action to continue protecting this monumental decision that ensures women remain safe and are able to make the choice that is right for them. New Jersey is a state that stands up for women.” –Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (New Jersey, District 33)

“47 years after Roe v. Wade, it is difficult to believe we are still fighting to preserve this basic right. In New Jersey, we are putting together bold legislation which will ensure that all our residents will have barrier-free access to abortion. 2020 is going to be a watershed year for reproductive freedom in our state.” –New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (New Jersey, District 37)

New York

“47 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Americans must be able to access safe, legal abortion. This pragmatic ruling reflected the reality that a woman has the ability to make her own medical decisions and should not have to risk her health or life in order to get medical care. The Roe v. Wade ruling has spanned decades because it was grounded in facts that are as relevant in 2020 as they were in 1973, despite misleading political efforts to convince people otherwise. Last year New York State finally codified the protections of Roe into our state laws, and it is critical that more states join us in passing necessary laws to protect abortion rights and improve access to abortion care. I am proud to support and celebrate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, especially at this critical time when others are trying to cloud the facts, elevate irrelevant arguments, and curtail the freedom of women and families across this country.” –Senator Liz Krueger (New York, District 28)

Ohio

“We will not go back! The Roe v. Wade verdict in 1973 was a pivotal decision that afforded women access to legal and safe abortions. We have to defend and protect women’s human rights to make the reproductive health decisions that are best for her and her family and not allow women to go back to the days when women with no options had to turn to alleys and basements for help.” –Representative Stephanie Howse (Ohio, District 11)

Pennsylvania

“The anniversary of Roe v. Wade reminds us of the critical importance of protecting women’s rights to make their own health decisions. Abortion is a personal, private decision that should be made among women, their families and their doctors – not legislators.  If Pennsylvania continues to see attacks on reproductive freedom, I will continue to stand up for women and work to ensure that their access to safe health care is not restricted.” –Representative Tim Briggs (Pennsylvania, District 149)

“The state legislature has no place interfering in a woman’s reproductive health. The decision to terminate a pregnancy is already an extremely difficult choice–but it is a right. I will continue to vote no on any legislation that interferes with a woman’s right to choose.” –Senator Art Haywood (Pennsylvania, District 4)

“While Pennsylvania is not yet at the crisis point we see in other states, there are many legislators in our Commonwealth who would like to see a total ban on abortion – and have introduced bills aiming to do just that. On the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must stand firm in our commitment to protect safe, legal, and accessible reproductive care for all women. We will not tolerate an overwhelmingly male legislature restricting women’s rights, eliminating women’s choices, and suppressing women’s voices.” –Senator Maria Collett (Pennsylvania, District 12)

“On the 47th anniversary of Roe V. Wade, we are reminded of the importance of continuing the fight to defend women’s reproductive health. Women have every right to make the personal and intimate decisions regarding their health and family planning decisions. There is no room for government interference between a woman and her health care professional. As legislators, we must continue to fight for access to critical reproductive and health care services.” –Representative Carolyn Comitta (Pennsylvania, District 156)

“The only people who should be involved in making decisions about a woman’s health care are her and her doctor. It is not the place of the legislature to determine when, where and why a woman can receive medical care. Unfortunately, anti-choice activists in the Pennsylvania House and Senate are working to erode a woman’s right to choose. I will fight every one of their attempts. They are violations of women’s privacy and a dangerous invasion of the government into health care.” –Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Jr. (Pennsylvania, District 43)

“As a state legislator in Pennsylvania, I see constant attempts to limit and criminalize access to abortion. We’re not unique: state legislatures have become the battleground for bodily autonomy. We must codify Roe v. Wade into law if we want to end the constant barrage of attempts to undo these protections for privacy, personal healthcare, and protections for those who may become pregnant.” –Representative Sara Innamorato (Pennsylvania, District 21)

Tennessee

“The historical significance of this case gave women the autonomy to choose when they want to start a family. I want to continue to fight against any legislation seeking to take away women’s right to decide the course of her pregnancy. It’s our obligation to defend Roe v. Wade at all times.” –Representative London Lamar (Tennessee, District 91)

Washington

“I was 10 when the court ruled. My grandma took me aside and said, ‘This is historic. Don’t ever let it go back to the way it was.’ Then she gave me her wedding ring as a reminder. I won’t forget that day ever. I will always honor this life-altering decision, not only for my grandma, but for my mom, myself and now my daughter, and carry it forward for future generations.” –Senator Annette Cleveland (Washington, District 49)

“At a time when reproductive rights are under attack around the country, our state is setting the bar for reproductive freedom. I’m so proud of the work we continue to do in the legislature on this crucial issue.” –Senator Steve Hobbs (Washington, District 44)

“Washington State has a proud history of protecting reproductive choice. While many parts of the country are restricting the essential rights that we gained 50 years ago with the Roe v. Wade decision, here in Washington we are committed to making sure that everyone continues to have access to safe, affordable reproductive healthcare. That’s why I am proud to support the Protecting Patient Care Act, which will ensure that health care providers cannot be prohibited from providing their patients with complete, accurate information and life-saving services.” – Representative June Robinson (Washington, District 38)

“Many older women, including myself, are worried that younger generations haven’t experienced what it was like before Roe v. Wade, and we need to make sure they realize what it means if they were to lose this right. There were safe houses in Seattle before abortion was legal, and women came from other cities and states for services because it was their only option. We don’t want anyone else to have to go through that. We need to protect this right for individuals across our state and be alert to fight efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade at the federal level.” –Senator Claire Wilson (Washington, District 30)

About State Innovation Exchange

The State Innovation Exchange (SiX) is a national resource and strategy center that collaborates with state legislators to improve people’s lives through transformative public policy. SiX provides legislators with on-the-ground support; creates tailored policy research, trainings, and communications guidance; and fosters collaboration between legislators—across chambers, across regions, and across state lines—and with grassroots movements.

SiX launched the Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council (RFLC) in 2018. Now a cohort of more than 425 legislators from 46 states, RFLC members work to protect and expand abortion rights and access and amplify the need for sound and strong state policies that support reproductive health including access to abortion care. Follow the work of RFLC members on Twitter at @SiXRepro.

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