(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama says the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade is the chance to recognize the “fundamental constitutional right” to abortion and to “continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.”
The 1973 U.S. Supreme Court nationalized abortion law, prohibiting states from deciding on the matter. In his written statement, Obama acknowledged that abortion has been a divisive political issue.
Obama, while serving in the Illinois State Legislature and as president of the United States, has taken a hard line on abortion rights.
In his statement on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling, Obama said it reflects the broader principles of America.
“As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters,” Obama said. “I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right.
“While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue -- no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant woman and mothers, reduce the need for abortion, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption,” Obama said.
“And as we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.”
As a state lawmaker in Illinois, he voted four times against legislation to protect the life of a baby that survived a botched abortion. He voted against such legislation at the state level in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
The 2003 bill was assigned to the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services Committee, which Obama chaired at the time. It mirrored a law passed by Congress, which said nothing in federal law should be construed to undermine the Roe v. Wade ruling.
As president, Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, which would appropriate federal money toward insurance plans that pay for abortions.
On Friday, the Obama administration finalized regulations that order Americans – unless they work directly at a church – to purchase government-approved health insurance plans that cover sterilizations and contraceptives, including those that cause abortions.
Planned Parenthood also marked the anniversary of the Supreme Court's abortion ruling by setting up a Web site "to show the world exactly what Roe has meant in the past and still means today."
The "Since Roe" Web site invites women to add their own comments about "how Roe v. Wade has made a difference in your life."