Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Roe v. Wade: 40th Anniversary
Of course, we don’t all feel the same way about abortion. But we should be able to agree that important decisions like these are better made by a woman, her family, and her doctor than by politicians.
Indeed, the American people have shown they don't want politicians to interfere in personal, private decision-making. This year, across the country, people came together to speak out against reproductive restrictions and those who pushed them. In states like Virginia, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Idaho, women and men took time out of their busy lives to go to their state capitols and tell their representatives to leave these decisions where they belong: with a woman, her family, and her doctor.
And these folks aren’t just talking, they are voting. Recently, voters in states as diverse as Mississippi and Colorado, Florida, and North Dakota all rejected ballot measures that would have interfered with a woman’s ability to make her own decisions about pregnancy. Politicians with extreme views on the right to choose whether to have an abortion lost at the polls. In fact, Americans are so fed up with politicians trying to interfere with a woman’s private health care decision, that a Gallup poll found that 39 percent of women in 12 battleground states said abortion was the most important issue for women in the election.
Incredibly, however, some politicians still haven’t gotten the message. For example, over the last two years, some politicians in the U.S. House of Representatives tried to change the definition of rape; several states passed laws mandating that a woman undergo an ultrasound and be forced to see an image before she can have an abortion; and politicians tried to give employers the right to deny a woman insurance coverage for birth control.
Even some Wyoming legislators are still determined to take away a woman’s ability to make her own decisions about birth control, pregnancy, and abortion. Two legislative measures being debated in the Wyoming legislature would effectively ban almost all abortion services in Wyoming. Both HB97 and SF88 violate provisions upheld in Roe v. Wade, and amount to nothing more than governmental interference into private medical decisions of Wyoming women and their families.
These attacks at the state and federal level notwithstanding, we must keep in mind two important lessons that we learned this year. First, however each of us personally feels about abortion, Americans have had enough of politicians trying to take that decision away from women and their families. Second, if we continue to speak out, we can stem this tide. We can stop politicians from interfering in a woman’s private health care decisions. So this year, when legislators in Cheyenne try to push restrictions on reproductive health care for Wyoming women, we must stand together and them realize just how out-of-touch and out-of-date they are.