Anchorage – On the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest stands with women to reinforce the importance of safe and legal abortion. Despite a woman’s constitutional right to make her own personal medical decisions without interference from politicians, access to safe and legal abortion is still at risk.
“As a leading women’s health care provider and advocate in Alaska, PPGNW understands that abortion is a deeply personal and often complex decision for a woman to consider if and when she needs it,” said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of PPGNW. “A woman should have accurate information about all her options around her pregnancy. To protect their health and the health of their families, women must have access to safe, legal abortion services without interference from politicians, as protected by the highest court.”
In 1965, illegal abortions made up nearly one-fifth of all pregnancy-and childbirth-related deaths. In the 40 years since Roe v. Wade blocked states from banning abortion, it has been one of the safest medical procedures — today, less than 0.3 percent of women undergoing legal abortions sustain a serious complication. Despite abortion being legal, constitutionally protected, and consistently supported by a majority of Americans, opponents of women’s health have made it increasingly harder for women to access it. During the last two years, 135 abortion restrictions have been passed by state legislatures.
Historically, Alaska has had progressive laws with regard to a woman’s right to choose. Alaska was one of four states to legalize abortion prior to the Roe decision in 1973. Additionally, Alaska’s Constitution provides greater protection for a woman’s right to choose than the U.S. Constitution despite some recent restrictions including biased counseling and parental notification.
“A majority of Americans oppose efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade, and in November they voted to protect a woman’s ability to make her own personal medical decision without interference from politicians,” said Charbonneau. “Legislators who continue to interfere with a woman’s access to safe and legal abortion do so against the will of their constituents.”
• According to a 2012 Gallup poll, 77 percent of Americans think abortion should be legal in some or all circumstances.
• According to a post-election poll from the Pew Research Center, 64 percent of voters younger than 30 said that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
• According to a Gallup poll of voters in 12 swing states, 39 percent of women cited abortion as the most important election issue for women. Women who cited abortion preferred Obama by a 3-1 margin.
As a leading women's health care provider in Alaska, PPGNW works every day to reduce unintended pregnancy and keep women healthy. Planned Parenthood health centers across the country provide health care that helps women prevent an estimated 486,000 unintended pregnancies and 204,000 abortions every year. From courthouses to statehouses to Capitol Hill, Planned Parenthood works to protect access to health care for women across the country — taking action to ensure that women have access to care, no matter what.
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest is the region’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate. We believe everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, and that every child should be wanted and loved. Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest operates 28 health centers in Alaska, Idaho, and Western Washington, providing medical services and sexuality education for thousands of women, men, and teenagers each year. Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization. We rely heavily on support from donors to help sustain responsible reproduction.