(Please watch this video Not in Her Shoes.)
January 22 marks the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. Abortion remains a deeply personal and often complex decision for a woman. Ultimately, decisions about whether to choose adoption, end a pregnancy, or raise a child must be left to a woman, her family, and her faith, with the counsel of her doctor or health care provider. We must move beyond labels such as “pro-choice” and “pro-life” because they don’t reflect the complexity of the issue or the way that Americans think and talk about abortion. The number of people who say abortion should remain safe and legal is significantly higher than the number of people who would identify as “pro-choice.” Instead of putting people in one category or another, we should respect the Majorities of Americans support access to safe and legal abortion and oppose efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade.
According to a 2012 Gallup poll, 77% of Americans think abortion should be legal in some or all circumstances. According to a 2012 Quinnipiac poll, 64% of all American voters agree with the Roe v. Wade ruling. According to a Gallup poll of voters in 12 swing states, 39% of women cited abortion as the most important election issue for women. Women who cited abortion preferred President Barack Obama by a 3-1 margin. According to a post-election poll from the Pew Research Center, 64% of voters younger than 30 said that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
The results of the 2012 election were a confirmation of this polling data. However, in many states reproductive rights are under continued assault. In those states, legislative majorities who reject even the most basic reproductive rights, including birth control and privacy, took control after the 2010 election, an off-year election when turnout is lower than when the Presidency is on the ballot. All of us in New York State are fortunate that our state is not one of those that do not respect a woman’s right and ability to make reproductive decisions. In our state, we even have the opportunity to advance these rights.
Your advocacy and financial assistance is necessary to enable further progress in NYS and to protect the rights of people in states where reproductive health care is under attack. We are especially motivated on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, but we must stay vigilant every day of the year to protect the rights set forth in that decision.