In 2007, when Barack Obama was running for president, he promised that “the first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act,” which would affirm abortion rights and effectively codify Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that guaranteed abortion rights as constitutionally protected.
Then-presidential candidate Obama made this promise on July 17, 2007 in a speech to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, which works to fight for laws and policies to protect reproductive rights and advance access to sexual health care.
Obama referred to it again on Jan. 22, 2008, the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
The Freedom of Choice Act (HR 1964) is a bill in the 110th United States Congress (2007 to 2009) that “declares that it is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child; terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or terminate a pregnancy after viability when necessary to protect her life or her health.”
If Roe is overturned, abortion will be illegal or close to it in almost half the U.S. states — 22 states have passed restrictive abortion laws in recent years, said Leslie Kantor, chairwoman and professor in the Department of Urban-Global Health at the Rutgers School of Public Health.
Abortions are “an extraordinarily common, safe procedure,” Kantor said. “We need to be thinking about the women who will be hurt the most across the country. At this point, the majority of people who get abortions are low income. This is a huge equity issue.”
HR 1964 prohibits a federal, state, or local government entity from denying or interfering with a woman’s right to exercise such choices, or discriminating against the exercise of those rights in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information. It provides that such prohibition applies retroactively.
It also authorizes an individual aggrieved by a violation of this Act to obtain appropriate relief, including relief against a governmental entity, in a civil action, according to a Congressional Research Services (CRS) summary of H.R. 1964.
Obama was elected president on Nov. 4, 2008. At a news conference marking his first 100 days in office, he was asked about the Freedom of Choice Act.
“Now, the Freedom of Choice Act is not my highest legislative priority,” Obama said. “I believe that women should have the right to choose, but I think that the most important thing we can do to tamp down some of the anger surrounding this issue is to focus on those areas that we can agree on. And that’s where I’m going to focus.”
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 74: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin returns for a new season of the GHOGH podcast to discuss Bitcoin, bubbles, and Biden. He talks about the risk factors for Bitcoin as an investment asset including origin risk, speculative market structure, regulatory, and environment. Are broader financial markets in a massive speculative bubble?
With the U.S. Supreme Court now poised to strike down Roe v. Wade, according to a leaked draft of a majority opinion, federal lawmakers are being urged to act to protect and codify abortion rights.
Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy Murphy signed the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act into law in January, after various versions of it languished for years in the Legislature. Murphy is calling on Congress to protect abortion access in advance of the Supreme Court ruling.
David Sirota, founder and editor-in-chief of LeverNews and co-writer of the movie “Don’t Look Up”, tweeted on May 3 “that the failures of 2009-2010 were the pivotal turning points in modern history. They will be felt for generations, and changed the course of American history for the worse.” Accompanying Sirota’s tweet was Obama’s “first thing I’d do as president” promise and his “not my highest legislative priority” decision not to prioritize it.
Photo: Demonstrators protest outside of the Supreme Court Tuesday, May 3, 2022 in Washington, D.C.. A draft opinion suggests the U.S. Supreme Court could be poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)