On the 42nd anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, legislative members of the Progressive Women’s Caucus spoke out today about the importance of the ruling and women’s right to have access to quality health care.

LANSING – On the 42nd anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, legislative members of the Progressive Women’s Caucus spoke out today about the importance of the ruling and women’s right to have access to quality health care.

“We have to remember that Roe is not just about a court decision or even just about abortion,” said Sen.Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor). “It commemorates a day that changed the course of history for women in this country, ensuring we have the right to control our bodies, our private healthcare decisions, and ultimately, our destinies. This day is about remembering the women who were once forced to seek extreme options in very dire circumstances, and vowing that we will not go back. As we enter this new legislative term, I remain hopeful that we will remember these women and those who depend on us now to make decisions that hold their health and safety paramount.”

Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright (D-Muskegon) noted that it’s extremely important that the government not interfere in the relationship between a woman and her physician, or in the decisions a woman makes about her health.

“Legislation restricting a woman’s right to make decisions about her own health often is promoted as a way to help or ‘protect’ women, but instead puts government between a woman and her doctor and family,” Hovey-Wright said. “The majority of Americans believe that government has no place in a woman’s personal medical decisions.”

Rep. Gretchen Driskell (D-Saline) said that attempts to limit women’s health care choices or make it more difficult for women to access health care not only endanger a women’s health, but put her economic well-being in peril as well. A University of Michigan study shows that fully one-third of wage gains women have made since the 1960s were the result of the birth control pill. Another study finds that over a lifetime in the workplace, women earn 3 percent more for each year they put off having a child.

“When a woman doesn’t have the freedom to manage her own health care, it impacts her and her family’s economic well-being,” Driskell said. “Employers who don’t cover basic healthcare needs like contraception have blocked women from using their insurance to pay for health care procedures are denying women the economic benefits that are provided for everyone else.”

Recent efforts to limit women’s health care choices in Michigan include Republican-sponsored laws that require women to pay for additional insurance to pay for medical care following miscarriages and abortion — even when their health is at risk or a pregnancy resulted from rape — and laws that place burdensome restrictions on women’s health care centers that don’t apply to other health care centers.

“Many lower-income women rely on health care centers such as Planned Parenthood for breast and cervical cancer screenings used to detect cancer early, when it can be most effectively treated,” Rep. Kristy Pagan (D-Canton). “Women’s health is critically important, and we can’t allow it to be turned into a political game.”

Rep. Leslie Love (D-Detroit) said all lawmakers in Lansing should be working to help women and families.

“Promoting policies that improve access to affordable health care, economic parity and better education will improve the health and lives of Michigan families, strengthening Michigan as a whole,” Love said. “That’s good for all of Michigan.”