Safeguarding a Woman’s Right to Choose

The ACLU protects everyone’s right to make informed decisions free from government interference about whether and when to become a parent.

We work every day to protect access to safe and legal abortion care, contraceptives, and information on how to prevent unintended pregnancies and STDs. In the world we envision, everyone would have the resources they need to raise healthy families and lead healthy lives.

Few decisions are more personal and intimate, more properly private, or more basic to individual dignity and autonomy, than a woman’s decision whether to end her pregnancy. A woman’s right to make that choice freely is fundamental.
— U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun, Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (1986)

A woman’s right to decide whether or not to bear a child was secured in 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. The anti-choice movement continues to seek the passage of laws to restrict women’s reproductive freedom, and anti-choice extremists have pursued a campaign of harassment and sometimes violence against abortion clinics and providers.

The California Constitution explicitly protects reproductive privacy, making the state a relative safe haven for women who make the difficult choice to end a pregnancy. The ACLU worked hard to secure this right. We continue to use litigation, legislative advocacy, public education, and grassroots organizing to protect and advance the rights of all California women to make informed personal decisions about childbearing.

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