ROCHESTER N.Y. — A discussion on reproductive rights dominated Rochester NOW’s Roe v. Wade 45th anniversary celebration, Monday night at the First Unitarian Church in Rochester.

“The Roe v. Wade decision was for women’s privacy so whatever went on with their body and their doctor's decision and their partner and their maker was their decision, and for some reason it’s still a little frightening that something could get changed by one change in the Supreme Court Justice,” says Jaclyn Richard, Rochester NOW president.

So to never forget, local leaders and advocates met to deliberate the actions needed to protect access to safe, reliable and affordable birth control and abortion.

“Sometimes women don’t have a choice and you’ll never know and I’ll never know, it’s not my choice to make a decision for another woman’s life," Richard said.

The four panelists in attendance also saw human rights issues — vital for the well-being of women and people of all genders.

“The majority of women having abortions are already mothers of one or more children so most women, when they make the decision to have an abortion their making that decision with the knowledge of knowing what it is to being a mother and what it is to raising a child.  Their doing something that’s very hard for them, to try to give their children the best life that they can,” said Rachael Phelps, M.D., Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York medical director.

The other side of this national debate has not kept quiet either; activists throughout the U.S. and in our community are speaking out as well.

“Far from over — in fact we are reaching a tipping point in the culture where things are moving in a pro-life direction,” says Jim Havens, host of Love Will End Abortion Radio Show, who adds that there are efforts being made to support those women who feel their health care priorities are at risk.

“The real problems are things like financial difficulties or relational pressures or families pressures, things like that, and those are things that we can really address and solve and we should work to solve those things as a community, but we should all stand up in solidarity with one another and say that every human-person is valuable and has equal rights.”

Either way, this debate may still be far from over, with both sides promising to keep fighting.