Obama defends Roe v. Wade on anniversary of Supreme Court ruling

President Obama marked the 39th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade court decision Sunday by saying that he remains committed “to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right.”

“We must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters,” Obama said in a statement Sunday.

Abortion and the Roe v. Wade decision, which said laws banning abortion were unconstitutional, has been a rallying cry for social conservative voters as well as pro-abortion rights advocates for decades, a trend that continued in 2011.

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The Republican-led House passed bills in 2011 that would restrict federal subsidies for abortion, and the issue nearly sparked a government shutdown in April after a last minute dust-up. States enacted 67 measures restricting abortion in 2011, according to a report released last week by abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Obama said Sunday that reducing the number of abortions was something that everyone could agree to, whether they supported or opposed abortion rights.

“While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue — no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant woman and mothers, reduce the need for abortion, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption,” Obama said.

“And as we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.”