- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 22, 2014

While pro-life advocates hold the annual March for Life at the Supreme Court Wednesday, President Obama defended the right of women to “reproductive freedom.”

On the 41st anniversary of the court’s decision that legalized abortion, Mr. Obama said his administration will “recommit ourselves to the decision’s guiding principle: that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health.”

“We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom,” Mr. Obama said.

The president also said in his statement that he wants to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and to “build safe and healthy communities for all our children.”

“Because this is a country where everyone deserves the same freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams,” the president said.

Mr. Obama is hosting an event at the White House Wednesday devoted to protecting women and girls from sexual assault.

SEE ALSO: HAGELIN: March for Life, and pro-life movement, now led by young adults

Mr. Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden are convening a meeting of the White House Council on Women and Girls on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which resulted in the legalization of abortion. The White House said a “major focus” of the meeting will be the issuing of a new report calling for a coordinated nationwide effort to combat sexual assault, especially against students.

At the event, the president will sign an order establishing the White House Task Force on Protecting Students from Sexual Assault. A White House official said the president and Cabinet members will “examine the progress that has been made and to renew a call to root out abuse wherever it exists and further protect Americans from rape and sexual assault.”

“Working aggressively to combat rape and sexual assault in all settings has been a priority for this administration,” the White House said in a statement.

Meanwhile, thousands of demonstrators will gather in bitter cold temperatures at the steps of the Supreme Court for the annual culmination of the March for Life.

The 41st annual march will feature lawyer Susan Wills, assistant director for education and outreach for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, discussing the Affordable Care Act’s mandate requiring large employers to insure birth control as part of their health care plans, including “morning after” pills that some religious organizations equate to abortion.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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