As Americans celebrate and reflect on the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling 42 years ago, I urge Congress and state legislators to listen to doctors and medical experts who know that legal abortion is safe, and that politicians should not interfere in personal medical decisions.
Despite the fact that abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States and is supported by the majority of Americans, we’re seeing more and more legislation moving forward at both the state and federal level designed to restrict access. As the nation’s leading women’s health care provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood knows how dangerous these restrictions are for women, and that’s why we’re urging Congress and state legislators to listen to doctors when it comes to policies that affect women’s health.
Half of all pregnancies in the U.S. each year are unintended, and four in 10 of these are ended by medically safe, legal abortions. However, the abortion rate in 2011 (the latest year for which national data is available) was the lowest rate since 1973, and much of this decrease is attributable to improved contraception.
Data, including from the CDC, shows that abortion has over a 99 percent safety record. Studies show women experience major complications less than one percent of the time. In the rare cases when complications do occur, they are similar to those that may occur from miscarriage, which ob-gyns and other physicians treat every day. Abortion has no impact on a woman’s future pregnancies.
Forty-two years after the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Roe v. Wade, significantly more Americans want the landmark abortion decision kept in place rather than overturned. Seventy-eight percent believe abortion should be legal in certain or all circumstances. Rather than approaching access to reproductive health care as a divisive “social issue,” many voters recognize that abortion access is connected to women’s financial stability. For example, over 80 percent of voters polled in New York and Pennsylvania agree that a woman’s ability to control the timing of her job and family is a fundamental component of women’s equality.
In order to ensure abortion remains safe and legal for future generations, we must replace misinformation with the facts and start having honest conversations about abortion in America today. Here at Planned Parenthood, we are offer abortion services, and we ensure that women have accurate information about all of their options. Ultimately, decisions about whether to choose adoption, end a pregnancy, or raise a child must be left to a woman with the counsel of her health care provider, her family, and her faith.
January 21, 2015
March 12, 2015