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Planned Parenthood Stands With Women on the 40th Anniversary of Roe v Wade; Advocates for Continued Access to Safe, Legal Abortion

Published: 01.22.13| Updated: 01.22.13

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan On the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade (January 22, 2013), Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan (PPWNM) stands with women across the country in reinforcing 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 Michigan, PPWNM understands that abortion is a deeply personal and often complex decision for a woman to consider if and when she needs it," said PPWNM President/CEO Katherine Humphrey. "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. In states such as Texas, South Dakota, Florida, and Michigan, some politicians have eroded access to safe and legal abortion through court battles, ballot measures, and burdensome legislative restrictions.

In the last week of the 2011-2012 lame duck Michigan Legislative session, state lawmakers delivered a last-minute blow to women by sending a package of anti-women's health bills to Gov. Rick Snyder. Only weeks after an election where women's votes were pivotal, Michigan legislators ignored the will of voters and passed bills that jeopardize women's health. The governor signed HB 5711, the omnibus anti-abortion bill that creates unnecessary, burdensome, and costly licensing requirements for women's health centers and could reduce access to comprehensive care. It requires health centers that perform abortions to build facilities similar to those of hospital operating rooms, despite the fact that such facilities are not warranted by the procedure. It also prevents the use of telemedicine technology to provide health care to many rural and poor women who do not otherwise have access to a provider.

"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 decisions without interference from politicians," said Humphrey. "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.  
  • According to research from the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of Latino registered voters support a woman's ability to make personal, private decisions about abortion.
  • According to a 2012 survey from the Public Religion Research Institute, two-thirds (67 percent) of African Americans believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

As a leading women's health care provider in Michigan, PPWNM 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.

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Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan (PPWNM) provides sexual health care and sexuality education services, and advocates for access to these services for everyone. PPWNM, an affiliate of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, operates health centers in eight Michigan cities Big Rapids, Grand Rapids, Ionia, Marquette, Muskegon, Petoskey, Traverse City, and Wyoming providing medical and education services to thousands of women, men, and teenagers each year. Log on, learn more: ppwnm.org.

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