After the Worst Year for Abortion Rights in a Half Century, Ms. Relaunches Iconic “We Have Had Abortions” Campaign

These American women invite you to join them in a campaign for honesty and freedom.

In its 1972 preview issue, Ms. magazine ran a bold petition in which 53 well-known U.S. women declared that they had undergone abortions—despite laws in most states rendering the procedure illegal. These women were following the example of a 1971 manifesto signed by 343 prominent French women, who also had declared they had abortions.

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. Even then, it seemed absurd to many that the government could deny a woman sovereignty over her own body.

It is even more absurd that in 2022 in Texas, abortion has been outlawed for the vast majority of women and girls. And in a few short months, the Supreme Court is likely to rule in a case that is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and will impact abortion access nationwide. Unconstitutional abortion bans have now been passed in 16 states (though they’ve been blocked, for now, by court order), and 17 states have trigger laws and/or pre–Roe v. Wade laws that could automatically ban abortion if the Supreme Court abandons the principles established by Roe. Meanwhile, myriad restrictions already limit access to abortion in the U.S. for young women, women in the military and poor women, disproportionately impacting women of color.

In 2006, Ms. issued a renewed call for women of conscience to stand up and speak truth to power.

We know it is time again. (Sign it here.)

The Winter 2022 cover of Ms.

Ms. is launching a new petition with the encouragement and support of some of the original 1972 signers. They signed “to save lives and to spare other women the pain of socially imposed guilt … [and] to repeal archaic and inhuman laws.” They invited all women to sign in order to “help eliminate the stigma” of abortion. We recognize that—even 49 years after Roe—not every woman will be able to sign, though abortion is a very common, necessary and important procedure for millions of women in the U.S.

We know that women who have had abortions have spoken out many times during the last 49 years, and millions of women and men have marched in countless rallies and demonstrations for abortion rights. The result: By a margin of 2 to 1, Americans oppose the repeal of Roe v. Wade.

It is time to speak out again—in even larger numbers. We cannot, we must not, lose the right to safe and accessible abortion or access to birth control. Just as in 1972, Ms. will send the signed petition to members of Congress, to the White House—and to the Supreme Court.

Whether you sign the petition online or by mail, we ask that you help Ms. by promoting the petition to your friends, family and others across the country to join our fight to save abortion rights. Your name and your voice will make a difference.

Add your name to the petition.

This article originally appears in the Winter 2022 issue of Ms. Become a member today to read more reporting like this in print and through our app.

You may also like: A Sneak Peek Into Ms. Winter 2022 Issue.


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