Just days away from the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the local chapter of the National Organization for Women held their annual celebration of the landmark Supreme Court decision Thursday night.
2020 is a special year for the women’s rights movement.
“This is the 100th year of us getting the right to vote, and we’re so glad that we have used that collective power that we gained 100 years ago,” National Organization for Women's local chapter president Sarah Timmerman said.
It’s also Susan B. Anthony’s 200th birthday this year.
“They would be so thrilled to see what’s happened in that 100 years, and of course Susan B. Anthony on her 200th birthday would be so pleased to see what has changed,” Rochester resident Pat Iannuzzi said.
And Virginia just became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, meaning equal legal rights for all U.S. citizens regardless of sex could be something soon expressly codified in the U.S. Constitution.
“It will actually put us on true Constitutional footing, to say that women are equal with men for equal pay, and a variety of other things that are currently not equal in our country,” CEO for Planned Parenthood in Western and Central New York Michelle Casey said.
But while there’s a lot of progress to be happy about, Timmerman says there is still a lot of work left to be done.
“[Abortion is] not what it’s become of this political nonsense; it’s just a health care procedure," Timmerman said. "We are also pushing for increased access to sex education, birth control, and family planning services."
And that’s why celebrating the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade also means discussing what’s left to be done for women’s health care rights in the country.
“I was around before Roe v. Wade, so I can remember what kind of situation that was, and I think it’s definitely something we need to preserve,” Iannuzzi said.
Highland Family Planning and Rochester Sexual & Reproductive Justice Task Force spoke about this issue, as well as Rep. Joe Morelle and Casey.
“We’re not focusing on any men’s health care for legislative action, which just shows the difference of how it’s treated," Casey said. "And the bottom line is: trust women.”
So in 2020, the women’s right movement continues to march forward.
“We’re excited for the year to come, all the celebrations locally in Rochester to celebrate 100 years to vote, and we’ll just keep on fighting to demand our rights,” Timmerman said.