January 22, 2003: Remarks
of Gary Locke, Governor of WA
years ago this week, the United States Supreme Court made "the right to choose"
the law of the land. The words "Roe v. Wade" have become synonymous
with this right.
I am proud that our state has led the way in reproductive
rights for women. I'm also proud that we've led the way in the broader struggle
for equal rights for women. As early as 1854, the first territorial Legislature
of Washington came within one vote of giving women the right to vote. In 1910,
our Legislature did enfranchise women, a full 10 years ahead of the passage of
the 20th Amendment.
Washington was the first state to legalize abortion
through a vote of the people. That was in 1970, three years before Roe v. Wade.
And Washington citizens have reaffirmed the right to choose several times since
Roe v. Wade.
We are a strongly pro-choice state. We have a long history
of passing pro-choice legislation and pro-choice initiatives. We also have a strong
track record of turning back anti-choice legislation and initiatives.
are justifiably proud of this tradition. We know in this state that the right
to reproductive choice is critical to women's rights. It is central to the concepts
of equality and self-government. Democratic government begins with the right to
govern our individual lives.
Roe v. Wade gave the highest degree of constitutional
protection to this right to choose. At times, violence and the threat of violence
have cast a shameful pall over this freedom. Such hateful crimes are an abomination
to all Americans and a threat to all of our freedoms. We must always protect against
and prosecute such crimes to the full extent of the law.
We must also be
vigilant in protecting against the political erosion of the right to choose. We
must always fight against insidious rules, regulations and legislation that seek
to chip away at this right.
Thirty years ago, Roe v. Wade made a woman's
right to choose one of America's fundamental freedoms. This week we commemorate
that decision, and reaffirm our commitment to protect that fundamental freedom
and all fundamental freedoms from compromise.
Governor of Washington State
have laws in place that assure women's reproductive rights. We have a long history
of passing pro-choice legislation and pro-choice initiatives. We must work hard
to guarantee that these rights remain strong and intact."
Locke, January 22, 2003
Feminist Women's Health Center