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2005-01-21

A Look at Roe v. Wade 32 Years Later

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Thirty-two years ago this weekend, the Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in the landmark case Row v. Wage. By a vote of 7 to 2, the justices legalized abortion and instantly voided state laws prohibiting abortion. We speak with Jatrice Martel Gaiter of Planned Parenthood. [includes rush transcript]

Thirty-two years ago Saturday, the Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in the landmark case Row v. Wage. By a vote of 7 to 2, the justices legalized abortion and instantly voided state laws prohibiting abortion.

Before the historic Supreme Court decision, abortion was illegal in almost every state.

After the historic decision, states immediately began passing restrictive legislation. Congress passed the Hyde Amendment, which withholds federal Medicaid funding for abortions for poor women except to save a woman’s life. Some states passed laws requiring a husband’s consent, parental consent laws, and 24-hour waiting periods.

Today, 87 percent of counties have no abortion providers, according to the Alan Guttmacher institute. Roe v. Wade itself hangs in the balance by 5-4 at the Supreme Court.

  • Jatrice Martel Gaiter, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Today we are joined by Jatrice Martel Gaiter, the president and C.E.O. of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Welcome.

JATRICE MARTEL GAITER: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: So you were handing out condoms in the crowd, and you were also having a special event, as we look forward, this weekend —

JATRICE MARTEL GAITER: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: — in Washington, D.C., what’s happening at Planned Parenthood?

JATRICE MARTEL GAITER: Well, first of all, Planned Parenthood is going to be under siege this weekend, because protesters from all over the country are busing in school children and college children to come in front of our clinics and have a 24-hour vigil. The march for people who are opposed to women’s reproductive health rights takes place on Monday, and some of them are staying across the street from our clinic, and so, we decided that we are going to stay open, too. We’re providing services from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, and we are booked. People are coming in to take advantage of this opportunity, and we’re going to stay open all night until 8:00 a.m. the next morning. We’re having a pro-choice movie night. We’re showing four pro-choice movies throughout the night, such as "Cider House Rules" and "Iron Jawed Eagles." And so we’re determined to let people know that in Planned Parenthood clinics, we’re providing health care for over 26,000 men, women and teens in this community, and all over the country. This is what’s going on in Planned Parenthoods. We’re providing basic reproductive health care. About less than 10% of what we do is abortion, and if these people who are here to protest and stand on the sidewalks really and truly wanted to decrease the number of abortions in this country, then they would join us in providing birth control, accurate medical information to teens and young people about abstinence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs, not abstinence only. So they can’t have it both ways. You can’t be opposed to abortion and opposed to birth control, emergency contraception, and accurate medical information, and then you don’t care about children once they’re born. So we’re taking a stand. We’re being vigilant, and we have a lot of supporters who will be with us at Planned Parenthood Saturday for 24 hours. And I will be there.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want thank you very much for being with us today, Jatrice Martel Gaiter, president and C.E.O. of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington. Thanks for joining us.

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