WASHINGTON – The 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade was observed Tuesday by several female members of Congress, including the following:

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii): “Roe v. Wade was a monumental decision for women in this country. One of my first political actions as a college student was writing a letter to my members of Congress that asked for their positions on abortion. At the time, abortion was illegal in almost every state and Hawaii was considering, and ultimately passed, legislation to partially legalize it. I have been a strong supporter of a woman’s right to choose for a long time and the battle continues.

“Now, 40 years after the Supreme Court’s decision, some are trying to go back to the days when women were denied the right to make decisions about their own health care. From blocking access to contraception to mounting a full-scale repeal of Roe v. Wade, these forces are constantly looking for ways to turn back the clock on reproductive health care rights.

“I consider a woman’s right to choose a fundamental right which must be protected. Future generations of women deserve no less.”

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento): “The choice to start a family is a deeply personal and often complex decision. As we begin the 113th Congress, I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to make her own health-care decisions, as was upheld in Roe v. Wade 40 years ago.

“While our country has come a long way in the 40 years since Roe v. Wade, there is still more work to be done. It is my hope that my colleagues and I can work together in a bipartisan fashion to strengthen and improve women’s rights, and to ensure we do not turn back the clock on the protections that have been granted.”

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii): “Forty years ago, the United States Supreme Court rendered its decision in Roe v. Wade, recognizing a woman’s right to control her own body and placing decisions about reproductive health in the hands of a woman and her doctor, not the government. It was Justice Harry Blackmun, appointed by a Republican president, who wrote for the court, ruling that constitutional principles, not emotion, must speak loudest in determining such important social issues.

“Today, those rights are still under attack, challenged by groups and individuals who would impose their own judgment and beliefs on women across our nation. America is a land of laws and rights, and at our best we defend freedom against the voices of intolerance. Today I stand proudly with women from every corner of our country to celebrate our freedom, to look proudly upon a Constitution that protects our rights, and to give thanks for the laws that respect our individual dignity.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii): “Forty years ago this month, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s constitutional right to choose in Roe v. Wade. This landmark decision ensures that women can make their own health decisions, and if they want to, consult with their doctor, family, and faith.

“Four decades later, even though abortion remains legal, women still face enormous barriers – barriers that wholly violate the spirit of the Roe v. Wade decision. I support efforts to increase access to affordable health-care services which can contribute to fewer unplanned and teen pregnancies, a goal we should all support.

“This monumental Supreme Court ruling remains under attack, as the ability for women to be free to make what is often the most difficult decision in their lives, is constantly challenged. Now more than ever, we must remain steadfast in our defense of a woman’s right to choose.”

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.): Forty years ago today, the Roe v. Wade decision marked a milestone for women’s rights. That landmark case reaffirmed a woman’s control over her own body. Over the past four decades, it has also prevented unnecessary suffering for thousands of women by ending the necessity of potentially deadly back room procedures.

“It is essential that on this anniversary we not only recognize the Roe v. Wade decision, but also acknowledge that its protection of women’s rights is currently under attack. In the last Congress and election in particular, politicians in Washington and across the country advocated limiting women’s choices and in some cases argued that they should have no choices at all when it comes to reproductive health.

“As a member of the 113th Congress, which has more women than any Congress in the history of the United States, I look forward to standing up for the principles of Roe v. Wade and expanding access to quality and affordable reproductive healthcare for all women.”

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