Debate Club

Access to Safe and Legal Abortions Protect Women

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It was 40 years ago this month that the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in the historic Roe v. Wade decision. This landmark ruling affirmed that the constitutionally protected right to privacy includes every woman's ability to make her own personal medical decisions, without the interference of politicians. Four decades later, a majority of Americans still agree with the high court: that personal healthcare decisions should be left up to a woman.

A Pew poll released just last week showed that more than six in ten (63 percent) Americans say they would not like to see the court overturn the Roe v. Wade decision. In addition, a post-election poll also from Pew found that 64 percent of voters younger than 30 think abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Catholic contraception controversy.]

In 1965, illegal abortions made up nearly one fifth of all pregnancy- and childbirth-related deaths. In the 40 years since Roe v. Wade deaths from abortion have declined dramatically—today, less than 0.3 percent of women undergoing legal abortions sustain a serious complication. Abortion must remain legal, so that a woman has access to the full range of options around her pregnancy—including safe abortion. 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 healthcare provider—without the interference of politicians.

Undoubtedly, voters made it clear this year that they are opposed to policies that demean and dismiss women. In November's election, voters rejected some of the nation's most vocal and extreme opponents of safe and legal abortion. Yet, we continue to fight against policies proposed by politicians who are seemingly obsessed with banning or chipping away at abortion access. In state after state, legislators have put forward bills designed to shame or judge a woman and restrict her access to abortion.

[See Photos: The 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade.]

Simply put, these attacks on women's health fly in the face of public opinion and are politically unpopular and extremely dangerous to women and their families. 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.

Eric Ferrero

About Eric Ferrero Vice President for Communications for Planned Parenthood Federation of America

women's health
health care

Other Arguments

34 Pts
Abortion Is Not Prowoman, Prolife Is Prowoman

Yes – Abortion Is Not Prowoman, Prolife Is Prowoman

Penny Nance President and CEO of Concerned Women for America

23 Pts
Women Are Not Better Off Because of Abortion

Yes – Women Are Not Better Off Because of Abortion

Connie Mackey President of the Family Research Council Action PAC.

13 Pts
The 'Prochoice' Movement Is Selfish

Yes – The 'Prochoice' Movement Is Selfish

Gary Marx Executive Director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition

11 Pts
Legal Abortion Can Be a Lifeline

No – Legal Abortion Can Be a Lifeline

Terry O'Neill President of the National Organization for Women

-17 Pts
The Toll From Legalized Abortion

Yes – The Toll From Legalized Abortion

Gary Bauer President of American Values

-23 Pts
We Must Stand Up to Efforts to Roll Back Abortion Rights

No – We Must Stand Up to Efforts to Roll Back Abortion Rights

Debra Ness President of the National Partnership for Women & Families

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