June 7, 2007
On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit admirably struck down Michigan's third attempt at an abortion ban
. The decision, handed down almost two months after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal ban on abortion methods
, noted that Michigan's ban "pushed almost every boundary that the Supreme Court has imposed for these types of laws." In fact, the Michigan ban was so broad that it would have prohibited nearly all abortions, including treatment for miscarriages.
It's clear that some politicians are willing to do whatever it takes to eliminate safe, legal abortions. (Keep in mind that the Michigan legislature passed abortion bans in 1996, 1999, and 2004 — all of which were subsequently struck down by the courts
.) And the recent Supreme Court decision, in addition to undermining a core principle of Roe v. Wade
that women's health must remain paramount, gives politicians an open invitation to pass new and far-reaching abortion restrictions. All of this demonstrates that we must remain vigilant in our efforts to protect access to abortion care.
But it's not just abortion bans that we should worry about. Women are denied insurance coverage for contraceptives and obstructed from obtaining contraception at their pharmacies; students are given misleading information about contraceptive effectiveness and told that abstinence until marriage is the only way to remain safe
(despite a recently-released federally commissioned study
showing that these programs don't work
); and whole segments of women (low-income, rural, women in the military, federal employees, teens, and women in prison) already live in a world where access to abortion care is severely limited.
We must work towards a world where everyone has information to protect against unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and where people begin to realize that the women in this country who decide to have an abortion are our friends, sisters, mothers, and partners. The ACLU will fight this fight in courts, legislatures and communities across the country to make this world a reality.