Today, Jan. 22, marks the the 45th anniversary of the historic Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. In the years since the ruling, opponents have worked tirelessly to push abortion care out of reach by any means necessary; and their new, anti-abortion allies in the White House have reinvigorated the anti-abortion movement.
Rosie Jiménez was one of the first victims of the relentless anti-abortion politicking that the right so self-righteously promotes. The Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, prevents federal funds from being spent on abortion care. This means folks in the military, veterans, and families receiving Medicaid or Medicare cannot use their health insurance to cover abortion care.
Forward Together reports:
“Rosie Jiménez, a young, working class, Chicana student and single mother, was the first victim of the Hyde Amendment in 1977. She was six months away from graduating with her teaching credential when she found out she was pregnant.”
After Jiménez’s local doctor refused to perform the procedure — because Medicaid would not cover the cost — she went across the border to Mexico.
“Desperate and with little cash, Rosie went to Mexico where she obtained an unsafe, illegal abortion. She died from the illegal procedure soon after,” Forward Together adds.
Unfortunately, stories like this continue to be reality for far too many.
In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that women have a constitutional right to access abortion. However, in the 45 years since then, lawmakers at the state and federal level have put in place barrier after barrier to push abortion out of reach. Since Roe v. Wade became the law of the land, more than 1,000 anti-abortion laws have been passed by states. Nearly one-third of those laws have been passed since 2010.
These laws have disproportionately impacted women of color, low income families, and folks living in rural areas, far away from any abortion providers. In Georgia, for instance, over 95 percent of the counties have absolutely no abortion providers, but these counties are home to more than half of the women in this state.
Just last year, three minors being held in federal custody were denied access to abortion care by the Trump administration, which is intent on making abortion care inaccessible to as many people as possible. The ACLU got involved and was ultimately able to get the young women the care they needed, but it shouldn’t take a lawsuit to keep the government from coercing young women to carry a pregnancy to term.
And the reality is that meaningful access to safe, shame-free, affordable abortion care is a value held by most people in this country. Abortion opponents don’t have the public on their side, and many people realize that their policies — policies of pushing abortion care out of reach by any means necessary — don’t make anyone safer.
What they do instead is increase the shame and stigma that pregnant people face when accessing abortion care. They increase the financial strain on low-income households who must choose between paying rent and paying for a needed form of healthcare. They force doctors to lie to patients about the risks of the procedure. And they promote bogus “science” to women, all to coerce, scare and intimidate pregnant folks into carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term.
According to Pew Research, seven in ten Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade. Additionally, nearly two-thirds of Americans think the new rash of abortion restrictions are going in the wrong direction, according to research from the National Institute for Reproductive Health.
As folks celebrate 45 years of Roe v. Wade, it’s equally important to renew our commitment to protecting and expanding meaningful abortion access for all. One way to do this is by signing our Better Georgia petition, reminding the Democratic Party that an unwavering commitment to abortion access is part of the DNC’s core values.