Roe v. Wade Must Be Strengthened in NY

Guest Commentary

Volume 118, No. 3March, 2018

Laura McQuade

Laura McQuade is the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of New York City

This year marks the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. This anniversary also marks a year of groundswell organizing across the country with people showing support for the health, rights, and full equality of all people – including access to a safe and legal abortion. Planned Parenthood of New York City is marking the occasion by calling on New York State elected officials to update New York State’s abortion law to bring it in line with Roe v. Wade.

New York State legalized abortion three years before Roe was decided. However, New York state law currently provides weaker abortion protections than are guaranteed by the Supreme Court, which means that if the Court overturns Roe, New Yorkers could immediately lose critical protections.

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.

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.

Since 1916, we have 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.

At 101 years old, Planned Parenthood of New York City 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 New York City. 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 Mikael Elsila.