At the age of 24 I began to ask my doctors if I could be sterilized. Year after year at my annual exam I would state my case -- each year unchanged from the previous year. At each visit my physician told me that I was too young, what if I changed my mind? But the reality was that I didn't change my mind.
Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision establishing a woman's right to an abortion, was issued 41 years ago. Despite consistent public opinion to the contrary, conservatives and the religious right have patiently and relentlessly campaigned against it for decades. And recently, their efforts are finding some success.
New York State has long been a leader in advancing women's equality, stretching back to the Seneca Falls Convention 166 years ago this weekend. Sadly, as we mark this important anniversary, hard-won victories by the women's rights movement are being threatened by a radical right wing that seeks to roll back the progress we've made.
Imagine a world where no woman dies giving life, where unwanted pregnancies are a thing of the past, where every girl is able to attend school and receive a quality education, and where everybody -- including girls and women -- can exercise their rights and have the opportunity to fulfill their potential.
These three decisions, taken together, are an assault on the rights, health, and economic well-being of women in every corner of this country. But they are also a challenge to President Obama, to Congress, to the political system, and to the American people to take the action necessary to undo the damage.
Some see WPD as a day to focus on the population "boom," or overpopulation, but ultimately this just distracts people from a universal truth: If women and girls can access contraception, they are more likely to finish school, they will have fewer children by choice, and they are more likely to prosper.