ACLU Joins March for Women's Lives as Principal Organizer, Saying Reproductive Freedom is a Core Civil Liberty

February 23, 2004 12:00 am

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NEW YORK — In keeping with its longstanding commitment to protecting reproductive rights, the American Civil Liberties Union today announced that it is a principal organizer for the April 25th March for Women’s Lives in Washington, the largest march for women’s health and lives in history.

“”In recent years, we have witnessed an unprecedented attack on our civil liberties, and reproductive rights are a prime target,”” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. “”It is time to stand up and collectively tell the government to stay out of our private lives.””

Romero will lead the ACLU march delegation and is scheduled to speak about the links between the attack on reproductive freedom and the erosion of civil liberties more broadly. The ACLU is committed to turning out its more than 400,000 members for the march.

The March for Women’s Lives is about ensuring that women of all races, faiths, and economic groups are free from government roadblocks when they need birth control, prenatal care, abortions, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, sexuality education, and other essential reproductive health services, the ACLU said.

Since 1995, states have passed nearly 400 measures that block access to essential reproductive health services. And according to NARAL Pro-Choice America, this year state legislatures are considering more than 300 measures that will further erode access for more and more women.

Last year, the government enacted the first-ever federal ban on abortion aimed at severely curtailing women’s ability to obtain abortions after the first trimester of pregnancy. Because of legal challenges brought by the ACLU and others, this dangerous and extreme measure has been blocked while the cases proceed. A trial in the ACLU challenge brought on behalf of the National Abortion Federation will begin on March 29th in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

“”Unless we take immediate action, Congress is poised to pass a slew of other measures that will undermine individuals’ rights to make critical decisions about their own reproductive health care,”” said Louise Melling, Director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “”The March for Women’s Lives will be a wake-up call to lawmakers: enough is enough.””

ACLU affiliates have already begun mobilizing local ACLU supporters to attend the march. Thousands of people from as far away as California, Washington, Nebraska, and Idaho plan to join the ACLU delegation in April.

As a principal organizer, the ACLU joins six other groups, including the Black Women’s Health Imperative, Feminist Majority, NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Organization for Women, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

To learn more about the ACLU’s participation in the march, go to

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