This January provides an opportunity for Americans to celebrate and reflect on the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, which confirmed that the constitutional right to privacy includes a woman’s right to abortion. As a young woman, I am grateful for this right, I celebrate it, but I am also deeply frustrated by the constant political attacks on my right to make private, personal medical decisions. Despite the fact that the majority of Americans support a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion, this right is in jeopardy. Women deserve better and it’s up to my generation to put an end to the slow march back to the dark days of dangerous and illegal back-alley abortions. I’d like to push back by replacing misinformation about abortion with some facts.
Access to safe and legal abortion is a critical part of women’s health care. One in three American women have had an abortion. Despite what you may hear from abortion opponents, research shows that abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the U.S. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that abortion has over a 99 percent safety record. Contrary to what opponents claim, safe abortions do not impact a woman’s ability to get pregnant in the future, prevent a woman from carrying future pregnancies to term, cause breast cancer nor negatively influence women’s emotional wellbeing.
One would think politicians would rely on science, research and facts as the foundation for public policy, but this false information is often used to support onerous laws intended to diminish and even eliminate access to safe and legal abortion. Targeted restrictions and regulations are designed to shut down trusted providers, increase the cost of abortion and threaten women’s health and safety. Just ask the women of west Texas, where unnecessary state regulations recently forced the closure of dozens of abortion providers. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Texas women now have to travel 600 miles to access safe and legal abortion in their state. How on earth does that make abortion safer for women?
Millions of women, many of whom we call “mom,” “grandmother,” “sister” or “friend” have needed or will someday need a trusted provider and the right to make to their own personal decision about whether or not to become a parent. It’s worth repeating — one in three American women have had an abortion. Regardless of personal, religious or political convictions, it’s important that abortion stays safe, legal and accessible for a woman to consider if and when she needs it.
I urge everyone, especially policymakers, to acknowledge scientific research when debating and making decisions on an issue that affects millions of women’s lives. I am grateful that safe and legal abortion remains accessible to the women of California and I’m committed to fight to ensure that it remains legal for generations to come.
Jake Picker is not willing to give control of her body to some politician who can’t even read a medical report.