ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court first issued the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade that established a woman’s right to an abortion. After that decision was overturned last year, individuals across New York state are using Sunday to remember and call for action.
“We’re out here still demanding full access to abortion,” said Sarah Timmerman, the president of the Rochester Chapter of the National Organization for Women.
Community members gathered in downtown Rochester to commemorate the 50th anniversary. Among the speakers were Congressman Joe Morelle and Assemblywoman Jen Lunsford, as well as representatives from organizations like Rochester NOW.
“We’re spreading awareness and trying to combat the lies around abortion,” Timmerman said. ”Because so many people have been able to control the narrative around abortion as a bad thing and we’re here to tell people that it’s a really amazing thing.”
The press conference also served as a way to spread awareness of reproductive health care access is still available in New York state and how to fight for access across the nation.
“Obviously, now the worst has happened with the overturning,” she said. “So now it’s just remobilizing and re-bringing people together.”
“Luckily 50 years later, we do have the abortion pill that people can take,” Timmerman said. “So there is a safe option for people in the beginning of their pregnancy, as well as the networks that existed before to get people an abortion, they’re still there.”
Earlier this month the Food and Drug Administration released new guidance to allow retail pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS to provide medication abortion in states where abortion is legal.
“And we would love those to be available at all pharmacies and to not have chained pharmacies deny access to it just like they’re trying to deny access to birth control and plan b,” Timmerman said. “We see this as just another part of accessing healthcare.”
It made this year’s anniversary even more significant
“We’re not settling anymore,” Timmerman said. “We’re still here. We’re still mad and we’re still fighting.”