Augusta - The Maine Choice Coalition is at the State House today to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that recognized a pregnant woman’s right to make her own decision about whether to have a child or have an abortion. 

Members of the coalition are gathered for a day of events including a press conference at 10:00 in the Hall of Flags, where speakers will address the history of the reproductive freedom movement, life before and after the Roe v. Wade decision, and how the coalition is working to protect and promote choice in 2013 and beyond.

The Maine Choice Coalition is working to protect access for Maine women to the health care they need, and will push back against any efforts to shift important decisions about reproductive health care away from individual women and into the hands of legislators.

The following quotes can be attributed to members of the executive committee of the Maine Choice Coalition:

Ruth Lockhart, executive director, Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center and chair of the coalition: “For the past 40 years, Americans have enjoyed the freedom of knowing that they can choose for themselves if and when to start a family. This year we celebrate this freedom and vow to keep moving choice forward for the women of Maine.”

Shenna Bellows, executive director, ACLU of Maine: “As the majority of Mainers agree, choices about pregnancy are best made by women and their doctors – not by legislators. Roe affirms that women have the right to make significant decisions about the paths their lives take, free from government intrusion.”

Kate Brogan, VP for Public Affairs, Family Planning Association: “Once our celebration is done, it's time to look to the future and work for meaningful access for every Mainer. A constitutionally-protected right to choose doesn't mean much if you can't exercise it because you can't afford it or you can't get to a provider. We need to ensure that all Maine women, regardless of their circumstances, have the real ability to make meaningful decisions about childbearing.”

Eliza Townsend, executive director, Maine Women's Lobby: "The ability to determine whether to have children, and if so, when and how many, is fundamental to a woman's economic security and to control of her life. Comprehensive health education and contraception are essential to preventing pregnancy, but Maine women must also continue to have access to a safe, legal abortion."

Megan Hannan, Maine Director of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England: “On the 40th anniversary of Roe, we recognize the need for continued access to safe and legal abortion for a woman if and when she needs to consider it. A majority of Americans support and respect the decision each woman must make about her own pregnancy and oppose efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade.”

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