January 22, 2013

40 years after Roe v. Wade, abortion foes march on

John Hanna / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Anti-abortion supporters gather for the Rally for Life at the Earle Cabell Federal Courthouse, site of the landmark Roe v Wade lawsuit filing over 40 years ago, in downtown Dallas on Saturday.

AP

But Kansans for Life, the most influential abortion group lobbying state lawmakers in Topeka, eschews proposals designed to set up a head-on legal challenge to the Roe v. Wade decision, fearing the U.S. Supreme Court might wipe out some of the gains seen by abortion opponents in recent years.

"We' like to continue on our successful strategy," Kathy Ostrowski, the group's legislative director, said during a pre-rally news conference. "We feel that we're making better strides that way."

It's far rarer for bills strengthening access to abortion to be enacted these days, but there are some pending proposals. In their state of the state speeches this month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo endorsed a bill that would further entrench the right to abortion in state laws, while Washington state's new governor, Jay Inslee, said he wants to enact a measure that would require insurers who cover maternity care — which Washington insurers are mandated to provide — to also pay for abortions. Both Inslee and Cuomo are Democrats.

"Forty years ago, the United States stood as an example to the rest of the world in recognizing a woman's right to a safe and legal abortion as a constitutionally protected right," said Nancy Northup, president of CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. "But the women in this country shouldn't have to rely on the courts to right the wrongs of their elected officials."

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