Ms magazine launched a ground-breaking petition last week intended to change the public debate about abortion. The “Ms. Petition for Safe, Legal, and Accessible Abortion and Birth Control” calls on the millions of women who have had abortions to demand “a repeal of laws that restrict women’s reproductive freedom.”
A similar petition was launched by Ms. magazine in 1972, when 53 prominent US women publicly declared that they had had an illegal abortion. At the time of the original Ms. petition, illegal abortions were causing untold suffering in the United States, especially for poor women who had to resort to unsafe self-induced or back-alley abortions.
The current petition comes as a response to growing threats around the nation to the right to choose. Seventeen states have trigger laws or pre-Roe abortion bans that would make abortion illegal should Roe v. Wade be overturned, including Mississippi, which has recently been the target of anti-choice activists. South Dakota even has an outright ban on abortion, though pro-choice activists have succeeded in staying the ban until voters can weigh in during the November election. According to Women’s eNews, more than 47 million women have had an abortion since 1973.
The compiled list of names will be published in the fall issue of Ms. magazine and on MsMagazine.com, and will also be sent to the White House, members of Congress, and state legislators to raise awareness about the increasing threats to women’s reproductive rights.