ACLU Salutes Abortion Providers on National Day of Appreciation

March 10, 2003 12:00 am

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Statement of Louise Melling, Director
ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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The ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project is a Co-Sponsor of the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers. See our certificate of appreciation saluting abortion providers for enabling women to exercise their constitutional right to reproductive choice.

Download a Personal Thank You to send to your local abortion provider or present at a local Day of Appreciation event

The day of appreciation was initiated by Refuse & Resist!

Fact Sheet: ACLU’s Role in Stopping Clinic Violence

NEW YORK–The American Civil Liberties Union is proud to stand today in support of abortion providers nationwide who have shown remarkable courage, perseverance, and commitment to women.

While today is a day of appreciation, March 10th also commemorates the 10th anniversary of a tragic event: the 1993 murder of Dr. David Gunn in Pensacola, Florida. In the ten years since the murder of Dr. Gunn, anti-choice extremists and activists continue to resort to violence, harassment, and legislative assaults in an effort to eliminate women’s access to abortion.

In the last two years alone, hundreds of clinics and reproductive rights organizations received fake anthrax threats. And this year, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, anti-choice extremists held a rally in support of James Kopp, who confessed to the 1998 killing of provider Dr. Barnett Slepian.

On the legislative front, the assaults on abortion providers persist as well. This week, the United States Senate is expected to pass a bill that would ban so-called “”partial-birth abortion,”” a bill that would make it a crime for doctors to perform a range of abortion procedures, including the most common method of second trimester abortion. The House is expected to pass the bill later this year, and President Bush has indicated he will sign it.

In recent years, many state legislatures have also passed laws that threaten doctors with criminal penalties, including prison terms, for providing abortions. Such laws force providers to spend increasing time and resources in complying with or challenging these laws in court.

The violence, harassment, and legislative interference deter doctors from becoming and remaining abortion providers. In fact, today women can obtain abortions in only 13 percent of U.S counties.

Without providers, women have no choice. Therefore, we encourage you to express your thanks to the courageous and compassionate doctors and clinic workers in your area who continue to provide abortions by offering them this Personal Thank You for display in their waiting rooms and offices. Absent the commitment of abortion providers, we would not be able to control our reproductive lives. And without our reproductive rights, we would not be able to participate equally in society, or to care for our children, our families, or ourselves. We urge you to take this opportunity to salute the people who make the right to choose a reality.

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