DENVER—On the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains 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 Colorado, PPRM understands that abortion is a deeply personal and often complex decision for a woman to consider if and when she needs it,” said Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of PPRM. “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 Colorado, a range of unpopular attacks on women’s health, designed to restrict abortion access are at play. Already four bills, two in the House and two in the Senate, have been filed in the Colorado General Assembly with the intent of chipping away at the protections afforded to us in the Roe v. Wade decision. In November, women’s health played a deciding role at the polls, and is one of the reasons supporters of women’s health now control both the House and the Senate in Colorado.
“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 Cowart. “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 Colorado, PPRM 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 684,000 unintended pregnancies and 325,000 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.
PPRM representative available for interview upon request.
January 17, 2013