NEW YORK, NY — New York City Council Member and Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo, and Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Chair of the Committee on Women, commemorated the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade today. The monumental Supreme Court decision, which legalized abortion within the United States, has faced increasing opposition by those who have sought to restrict the rights of women and eliminate safe, legal access to the procedure.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 2017 was a critical year in the fight to protect access to reproductive healthcare services. Nineteen states moved to restrict abortion rights and/or access to healthcare services, but 21 states took measures to increase women’s ability to exercise their reproductive rights.

“As the birthplace of the Women’s Rights Movement, the State of New York State has consistently been at the forefront of advancing gender equity. Forty-five years after the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, a woman’s right to choose remains under attack – jeopardizing millions of lives across the United States. We cannot rely on the Trump Administration and GOP Congress to stand with women of all backgrounds and uphold our right to reproductive healthcare. Therefore, we must take every recourse to protect equal access to preventative care including the codification of Roe v. Wade into the New York State Constitution,” said Council Member and Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo (D-Brooklyn).

In their commemoration of Roe vs Wade, Council Members Cumbo and Rosenthal celebrated the Women’s Marches across the U.S. last weekend that unified Americans of all ages and backgrounds against sexism, racism, and xenophobia. Nearly 70 percent of Americans support abortion access, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America. The Council Members maintain that Americans should not allow divisive rhetoric from Capitol Hill or the White House to undermine the many years of progress in the fight for reproductive freedom.

“Forty-five years ago the Supreme Court defined a women’s right to an abortion as a constitutional right. Remarkably, New York State has not codified that right. A woman’s right to an abortion is still threatened by those who force ideological beliefs onto a patient and her private physician, and should that right be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, women in New York would lose access in certain cases,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), chair of the Committee on Women.

“As a former board member of NARAL Pro-Choice America and one of the few women serving on the New York City Council, I will do everything in my power to ensure that New York City remains a leader in reproductive rights, and that low-income women in particular have access to the services they need. We cannot return to the days when terminating a pregnancy meant putting one’s life at risk.”

“With the fate of Roe hanging in the balance of a rapidly changing Supreme Court, we must act now to codify Roe’s protections into New York state law. Planned Parenthood of New York City has pledged to never stop providing care – no matter what. However, New Yorkers deserve the peace of mind that only an updated state abortion statute can provide,” said  Laura McQuade, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of New York City. “It is crucial to pass legislation protecting these rights so that those protections remain in place here, regardless of what happens at the federal level. New York has an opportunity and an obligation to stand up for reproductive health access and uphold the legacy of Roe v. Wade. New Yorkers cannot afford to wait.”

“Forty-five years ago, the Supreme Court gave us the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, not only making abortion legal across the country, but granting women the ability to control our bodies, our lives, and our futures. It’s fitting that this year’s anniversary comes on the heels of the monumental Women’s March, which sent a clear message that women and men across New York and across the country are committed to continuing to protect and advance reproductive freedom, no matter what the Trump administration throws at us,” said Andrea Miller, President of the National Institute for Reproductive Health.