BY KATHRYN SECHLER, Guest Columnist
January 22nd marked the anniversary of the United States Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which insured that women everywhere had the right to choose a safe and legal abortion. In the 39 years since Roe v. Wade, anti-choice politicians and organizations have tried time and again to deny women of the right to make their own decisions concerning their reproductive health.
Last year, a woman’s right to make her own decisions about abortion, as well as other aspects of her reproduction health care, was under fire. In Michigan alone there are over 30 proposed bills that, if passed, will not only chip away at a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion, but will also decrease access to family planning services and defund community health providers like Planned Parenthood.
A women’s reproductive health should not be used as a political bargaining chip. Please contact your representatives today and tell them to stand up against the anti-choice legislation and focus on the real issues that our state is facing.
BY LATAISHA M. JENKINS, Guest Columnist
Sunday, January 22 marked the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Roe v. Wade was a landmark ruling that began the long journey that women still travel to be able make decisions about their pregnancies and overall reproductive health. It amazes me that the anniversary of this decision does not get the attention it deserves.
While I have seen countless previews of what Kim Kardashian is doing this week, I have seen nothing
mentioned about Roe v. Wade and the continuing fight for women’s reproductive rights. This anniversary, at the very least, should have provoked all media outlets to start a conversation with the public; to open the eyes of those that may not know that the fight did not end with the Roe v. Wade decision.
Many of the rights that women take for granted such as access to birth control pills, emergency contraception, or health care coverage for preventative reproductive healthcare come under fire on a regular basis within Congress. Anti-choice legislation is constantly under review.
I am sure that most of your readers may be unaware that out of the 110 persons elected to the Michigan House of Representatives, only 32 of those are Pro-Choice. In the Senate, only 4 out of 38 are pro-choice, with only 2 of those being women. In Michigan, the Governor, Lt. Governor, Atty. General, Secretary of State, and Supreme Court are all anti-choice. This unfortunately makes the likelihood of anti-choice legislation being passed in the House an overwhelming reality. This is yet another reason why people need to educate themselves. Waiting for elected officials to give the public all the facts has proved to be a strategy that has left most of the public uninformed.
For instance, there is a bill is on the floor now, that was introduced by the House of Representatives, to amend all Michigan statutes to include a fetus in the definition of an individual, giving the fetus the right of a “person” at fertilization. The impact of this bill, if passed, outlaws abortions outright, thereby overturning Roe v. Wade, it bans hormonal birth control and emergency contraception outright, and opens up miscarriage to criminal investigation. This bill is clearly an effort to inhibit a woman’s right to choose by deeming her a criminal for making said choices. I for one, am deeply opposed to this type of legislation, as I am sure most women would be. This is why it is extremely important for women, and all people who value their civil rights, to become engaged in the political process and to educate yourselves fully on candidates and where they stand on important issues such as these. Do not be fooled, it is not just about abortion! It is about all aspects of a women’s reproductive health. One bill can pass that has a domino effect on other reproductive rights.
Polling consistently shows that a majority of Americans support Roe and respects the decision each woman makes about her own pregnancy and reproductive health. Yet in 2011, anti-women’s health politicians across the country did about everything in their power to undermine Roe v. Wade and gut access to safe and legal abortion care along with access to family planning. This is a problem. If the majority of Americans are for pro-choice, why are politicians working against that? Part of the reason may be because many are unaware that there are forces working every day against the right to choose and the right to access. Educating oneself and becoming apart of the process will make a huge difference. Those of us that believe in women’s reproductive rights, who believe in equality and justice for all need to make our voices heard. On this anniversary of the Roe v. Wade triumph, we all should reflect, inform ourselves, decide how to make a difference, and ACT! Be proactive in shaping the decisions that affect our lives. Make a stand! I stand with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan and all organizations that fight for change…that fight for us daily…and who will continue to fight for us until justice prevails. It is my hope that we all stand together to fight for change.