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Roe vs. Wade: 38 years after the legal decision, the social argument rages

January 22, 2011 |  3:02 pm

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There may be no legal appeal beyond the Supreme Court's historic decision in Roe vs. Wade, but 38 years later the country is still divided, still arguing and still emotional over the abortion issue.

The arguments are encapsulated today in two brief public anniversary statements issued by their respective offices. One is from a Democrat, Barack Obama, who already is president. The other is from Ohio's Republican John Boehner, who is the new House speaker, who could become president after the vice president.

House Speaker John Boehner's statement to participants in Monday's annual March for Life
Today marks the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s tragic Roe v. Wade decision that tore asunder a right to life our Founding Fathers described so indelibly in our Declaration of Independence. The decision denigrated the respect we must have for life at all stages, especially the innocent unborn.

The new House majority has listened to the people and pledged to end taxpayer funding of abortion. A ban is the will of the people and ought to be the law of the land. 

This week, Congressman Chris Smith introduced bipartisan legislation that....

...would codify the Hyde Amendment and similar policies by permanently applying a ban on taxpayer funding of abortion across all federal programs. This is critical, common-sense legislation that deserves the support of the people’s representatives and the president.

The cause of life endures today in large part due to the vigilance of all those Americans who, led by Nellie Gray, travel to Washington each year at this time to march and pray for the protection of the unborn.

These efforts -- aimed at restoring the damage of the Roe decision -- must continue.  Americans love life as much as we love freedom. These two founding principles are intertwined and form the basis of our national character. 

Without respect for life, freedom is in jeopardy.    ####

Statement by President Obama on the Roe vs. Wade Anniversary
Today marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, and affirms a fundamental principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters. 

I am committed to protecting this constitutional right. 

I also remain committed to policies, initiatives, and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.

And on this anniversary, I hope that we will recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.    ####

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