WCF’S Position on Reproductive Rights Issues Statement
Opponents of women’s reproductive rights continually introduce legislation at both the state and federal levels to restrict those rights and/or to create barriers to women’s ability to access full reproductive health care. See WCF’s stance on the following access, prevention, decision-making and legal reproductive rights issues.
Abortion Bans – Roe v. Wade guaranteed a woman’s right to choose to terminate her pregnancy before the fetus could live outside of the woman’s body (pre-viability). After viability, Roe states that a woman may terminate her pregnancy to protect her life or health. Consistent with Roe, forty-one states have laws on the books banning post-viability abortions not necessary to protect a woman’s life or health. Despite those laws, anti-choice lawmakers are passing laws that they call ‘late-term’ bans, but which in fact ban abortion as early as the 12th week of pregnancy. WCF OPPOSES bans on pre-viability abortion and bans on post-viability abortion without an exception to protect the woman’s life or health.
Access for Poor Women – Many low-income women rely on the government for their health care. Yet, anti-choice legislators want to restrict their reproductive health care simply because they are poor. WCF OPPOSES bans on public funding of abortion.
State-Mandated Lectures and Delays – Many legislators usurp the role of doctors and interfere with their freedom of speech by requiring them to recite a government-written speech to women seeking abortion care or by mandating an ultrasound regardless of whether it is medically necessary. In addition, despite the doctor’s medical advice and the patient’s wishes, anti-choice legislators think they should make women wait before receiving abortion care. WCF OPPOSES these restrictions.
Banning Access for Servicewomen – Though our servicewomen risk their lives to protect our freedom, anti-choice legislators strip them of their basic reproductive freedoms by prohibiting servicewomen from obtaining abortion care at military medical facilities or emergency contraception at their base pharmacy. WCF OPPOSES restrictions on the health care given our military women.
Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) – TRAP laws impose restrictions on abortion providers not applied to other medical professionals (i.e. the height of the grass outside the clinic, the width of the hallways, the temperature of the facility, etc). WCF OPPOSES such unnecessary and burdensome requirements.
Anti-Choice Judicial Nominees Support – Anti-choice legislators support anti-choice judges in the hopes of overturning Roe v. Wade. WCF OPPOSES court nominees who do not publicly support reproductive freedoms.
Comprehensive Sex Education – Studies show that comprehensive sex education that offers medically accurate information about abstinence, contraception and STD/HIV prevention strategies are effective in reducing teen sex. However, many anti-choice legislators want to funnel money into abstinence-only programs that censor discussion of contraception and have been proven ineffective in reducing teen sex and pregnancy. WCF SUPPORTS comprehensive sex education, not abstinence-only programs.
Emergency Contraception (EC) – EC is a concentrated dose of ordinary birth control pills. If taken within 72-120 hours after sex, it can prevent an unintended pregnancy. Despite its tremendous potential to reduce abortion, anti-choice lawmakers attempt to restrict information about and access to EC. WCF SUPPORTS women’s access to EC to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Pharmacist Refusal Clauses – Renegade pharmacists across the country are refusing to fill legal, valid prescriptions for birth control. WCF OPPOSES legislation permitting this discrimination against women.
Insurance Coverage for Contraception – While contraception can reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thus the number of abortions, many insurance companies refuse to cover prescription contraception or cover it at a lesser amount than other medications. WCF SUPPORTS insurance companies covering women’s reproductive medication to the same extent as other medications.
Young Women’s Access to Abortion – While most young women talk to one or both parents about abortion, not all can due to rape, incest, domestic violence or other real and serious concerns. Many instead talk to clergy, social workers, counselors or other family members. Yet, anti-choice lawmakers would deny young women the ability to talk to these trusted adults when they believe they cannot speak to their parents, and would deprive them of these adults’ guidance in such an important decision. WCF OPPOSES legislation requiring parental notification or consent before a young woman could access abortion services.
Young Women’s Access to Pregnancy Prevention –Most young women who decide to engage in sexual conduct know they do not want to become pregnant. While most young women talk to one or both parents about contraception, not all can. Yet, anti-choice lawmakers believe the government should dictate how families operate to the detriment of families and young women’s health. WCF OPPOSES legislation requiring parental consent before a young woman could access confidential contraceptive services.
CHOICE AND THE LAW
Fetal Crime Legislation – Women should have reproductive choice – including the choice to bear a child – and no one should be able to take that choice away, especially by violence. However, anti-choice lawmakers try to undermine women’s rights by introducing bills that ascribe personhood to a fetus at any stage of pregnancy. WCF OPPOSES legislation that declares a fetus is a person at all stages of pregnancy.
Anti-Choice Attacks on Stem Cell Research – In another attempt to undermine Roe to the detriment of Americans’ health, anti-choice lawmakers are trying to ban stem cell research that could save lives and cure such diseases as Parkinson’s. In those bans the anti-choice legislators ascribe the legal status of a person to the fertilized eggs used in the stem cell research. WCF OPPOSES such laws.
Note: This statement was ratified by the WCF Board of Directors in 2011. For the most up to date policy recommendations for promoting reproductive health choices for all, visit the NARAL Pro-Choice America Web site or Planned Parenthood Action Fund Web site.