Below is an edited press release from Planned Parenthood:
More than 220 women’s health advocates from across the state gathered at the State House Monday, one week before the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade that made abortion legal in the United States. Advocates from across the state met with their legislators to lobby for pro-women’s health bills filed last week.
Regarded as a celebration and kick-off to the new legislative session, the event began with a legislative breakfast and program featuring keynote speaker Dr. Paula Johnson.
“The 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade is a time to celebrate and to renew our commitment to women’s health and reproductive choice,” said Johnson. “In the years since Roe, this country has seen major advances in women’s health and equality. But we have also seen significant erosions to the rights guaranteed by Roe, erosions that impact individual and public health.”
The program also featured Senate President Therese Murray, Sen. Katherine Clark and Rep. Ellen Story – along with Megan Amundson, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, and Nonnie S. Burnes, Board Chair and Interim CEO of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts.
After the legislative breakfast, advocates met with their representatives and senators in a total of 46 meetings and asked them to take on a leadership role on women’s health and co-sponsor some key pieces of legislation.
The advocates’ legislative priorities include a bill that would set standards for comprehensive sexuality education curriculums (HD 360, SD 34) and a bill to increase a young woman’s options for seeking counseling when making a decision about her pregnancy (HD 218, SD 35).
“Forty years after Roe v. Wade, women’s access to health care and abortion services is under unprecedented attack nationally and by state governments across the country – even here in Massachusetts we are battling legislation that would take away women’s access to basic health care,” said Megan Amundson, Executive Director for NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts. “It was important for legislators to hear from their constituents today about how medical decisions should be made by women in consultation with their doctors, not legislators.”