Guest commentary

Volume 120, No. 3March, 2020

Laura McQuade

March is Women’s History Month, and this year is also the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision granting women the constitutional protection to access abortion. On this monumental anniversary, it is clear that the right to sexual and reproductive health care is under siege by the Trump-Pence administration and capricious politicians. Right now, more than 300 state bills aim to restrict abortion access and 25 bans are in effect across the country. These extreme attacks have one goal in mind — to challenge Roe v. Wade or render it meaningless by blocking access to care.

Here in New York, however, we are leading the way to ensure access to abortion care regardless of what happens at the federal level. One year ago, New York became the first state to enshrine the protections of Roe v. Wade in its state law when we boldly passed the Reproductive Health Act. This ignited several other states to pass similar progressive policies that protect abortion access and prioritize sexual and reproductive health care.

As we commemorate the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we know that access to abortion is on the line like never before. Extremist politicians have shown us they will stop at nothing to ban abortion and punish patients for accessing basic health care. We won’t stand for this — not now, not ever.

Here in New York, we showed the country what’s possible when we come together to protect and expand access to sexual and reproductive health care. The Reproductive Health Act makes abortion safe, legal and accessible in New York even if Roe is overturned nationally. Planned Parenthood of Greater New York is whole-heartedly committed to being a resource for all New Yorkers and people across the country who need access to the full range of family planning services — including abortion care.

This month, the Supreme Court will hear June Medical Services v. Gee. This is the first abortion case the Supreme Court will hear since President Trump handpicked conservative Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh to sit on the bench. Their decision could render protections under Roe meaningless. Dismantling Roe contradicts the desire of most Americans. Nearly 8 in 10 Americans do not want to see Roe overturned.

Access to abortion is a fundamental issue of economic justice and opportunity. A recent analysis from the Turnaway Study published in Social Science & Medicine found that most people are primarily relieved after having an abortion; and five years later, almost all people still believe it was the right decision for them.

Since 1916, Planned Parenthood has been an advocate for and provider of sexual and reproductive health services and education for New Yorkers. Providing more than 100,000 patient visits annually, our health care centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island offer sexual and reproductive health services, including gynecological care, birth control, cancer screening, pregnancy testing, abortion, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, HIV prevention, testing and counseling, transgender hormone therapy and vasectomy. Through a threefold mission of clinical services, education, and advocacy, we bring better health and more fulfilling lives to each new generation of New Yorkers. As a voice for reproductive freedom, we support legislation and policies to ensure that all New Yorkers will have access to the full range of reproductive health care services and information.

Planned Parenthood of Greater New York remains committed to our mission of building a world where all people have access to the health care and education they need so that they can build the families and futures they want and deserve. The work of our compassionate and highly skilled health center staff makes this possible, and ensures the communities we serve get the best care possible, every day — no matter what.

Laura McQuade is the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater New York. The opinions of guest commentaries in Allegro do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the staff, members or officers of Local 802. To submit a guest commentary or a letter to the editor, send an e-mail to