Statement of Beverly Whipple in Olympia,
WA, introducing Governor Gary Lock on the 30th Anniversary of Roe v Wade
Anniversary of Roe v. Wade
January 22, 2003, Olympia, Washington
afternoon. Thank you for coming. My name is Beverly Whipple. I am the Executive
Director of the Feminist Women's Health Center with the Cedar
River Clinic in Renton, Cascade Family Planning in
Lakewood, A Woman's Choice Clinic in Yakima ... and once
(back in 1983 and 84) a clinic in Everett that was firebombed
three times before we were forced to shut our doors. Abortions are provided at
all three clinic locations.
I am here today as chair of ProChoice Washington,
a coalition of pro-choice organizations with the grassroots and voting power of
hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians behind us. ProChoice Washington aspires
for Washington State to be a pro-choice state, and for it's citizens, legislators
and public officials to proudly support full reproductive health services for
Thirty years after the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, few
Americans know what the decision actually said or the context in which it was
decided. What Americans do know is that when Roe v. Wade became the law of the
land on January 22, 1973, the lives of American women were forever changed. No
longer would women be forced to risk their lives in order to have an abortion.
The death and devastation prior to the 1973 landmark decision were visible
to many. Women who attempted self-induced or sought back-alley abortions filled
hospital floors. The doctors and clergy who witnessed the tragedies became key
activists in the move to make abortion legal.
In the years since 1973, over
30 million women have chosen abortion. Consider this fact: more than 40% of American
women will choose to terminate a pregnancy at some point in their lives. Who are
these women? There isn't one kind of woman who has an abortion and another kind
of woman who has a baby. They are the same women at different points in their
lives. They are our neighbors, friends, mothers, daughters, grandmothers and loved
Today, on this 30th anniversary of the Roe decision, never before
have women's right to safe, legal abortion been more threatened. Overturning Roe
v. Wade and undermining a woman's fundamental right to make her own decision is
a high priority for the current administration in Washington D.C. Just a few examples
- Packing the judiciary, at all levels, with anti-choice judges.
- Enacting policies that make "unborn children" rather than pregnant
women eligible for coverage under the Children's Health Insurance Program.
to block access to contraceptives, the primary tool for preventing pregnancy.
condom information about how condoms protect against HIV & STD from public
information web sites that people depend on for reliable information.
are here with our pro-choice Governor to say that we believe in a woman's right
to make her own decision about a pregnancy, based on the conditions of her life,
and include whomever she chooses to help her with that decision. We strongly object
to government forcing their way into this critical and private decision-making
Maintaining rights in Washington has not been a cakewalk. Those
rights have constantly been challenged. Governor Locke has been our last line
of defense in some legislative challenges. However, pro-choice activists and legislators
have done such a fine job, he has never had to exercise his veto power.
are fortunate in Washington State - to have Governor Locke - and also citizens
who have a respect for privacy and freedom. Referendum 20 passed in 1970 making
abortion legal in our state, three years before Roe vs. Wade. Initiative 120 was
passed by the voters in 1991, guaranteeing the rights of Roe v. Wade to Washington
State Women. The people of Washington are saying that even if Roe is overturned,
we want women here in Washington to continue to make reproductive decisions free
from governmental interference.
We are honored that Governor Locke is here
with us. We want you to know that we truly do appreciate your support. Thank you
talking about freedom, and you can't take a picture of freedom."
Feminist Women's Health Center