emarks by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
to the NYS Family Planning Providers
Thank you all very much for having me. I am so pleased to be here two days after the 32nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision that struck a blow for freedom and equality for women. Today Roe is in more jeopardy than ever, and I look forward to working with all of you as we fight to defend it in the coming years. I'm also pleased to be talking to people who are on the front lines of increasing women's access to quality health care and reducing unwanted pregnancy -- an issue we should be able to find common ground on with people on the other side of this debate.
We should all be able to agree that ...view middle of the document...
The terrible result was that many children who were born were immediately abandoned, and left to be raised in government-run orphanages.
Now go to the other side of the world and the opposite side of this debate. In China, local government officials used to monitor women's menstrual cycles and their use of contraceptives because they had the opposite view -- no more than one child. If you wanted to have a child in China, you needed to get permission or face punishment. After you had your one allotted child, in some parts of China, you could be sterilized against your will or forced to have an abortion.
So whether it was Romania saying you had to have children for the good of the state, or China saying you can only have one child for the good of the state, the government was dictating the most private and important decisions we make as families and as women. Now with all of this talk about freedom as the defining goal of America, let's not forget the importance of the freedom of women to make the choices that are consistent with their faith and their sense of responsibility to their family and themselves.
I heard President Bush talking about freedom and yet his Administration has acted to deny freedom to women around the world through a global gag policy, which has left many without access to basic reproductive health services.
This decision, which is one of the most fundamental, difficult and soul searching decisions a woman and a family can make, is also one in which the government should have no role. I believe we can all recognize that abortion in many ways represents a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women. Often, it's a failure of our system of education, health care, and preventive services. It's often a result of family dynamics. This decision is a profound and complicated one; a difficult one, often the most difficult that a woman will ever make. The fact is that the best way to reduce the number of abortions is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies in the first place.
As many of you know, I have worked on these issues throughout my career and I continue to work on them in the Senate. One of the most important initiatives I worked on as First Lady and am proud to continue to champion in the Senate is the prevention of teen pregnancy. I worked alongside my husband who launched the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy in the mid-1990s. This organization, which has proven to be a tremendous success, was really was born out of my husband's 1995 State of the Union address, which declared teenage pregnancy to be one of the most critical problems facing our country. We set a national goal of reducing unwanted pregnancies by one-third over the decade. We knew, though, that this goal could not be reached with a government-only effort. That's why we invited private sector sponsors to join the board and use their organizations to send a powerful message to teens to be responsible about their futures.