LETTER TO THE EDITOR: 40 years after Roe v. Wade, women still deserve choice

Monday, January 21, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST

Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. In 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that the constitutionally protected right to privacy includes every woman's right to make her own personal medical decisions without the interference of politicians.

In the wake of the record-breaking proposed legislation to limit access to abortion, this milestone anniversary creates an opportunity to remind state and national legislators that the issue of abortion remains a private health care decision for women. Politicians should not be involved in a woman’s personal medical decisions about her pregnancy.

Women don’t turn to politicians for advice about mammograms, prenatal care or cancer screenings. Abortion is a deeply personal and often complex decision for a woman. 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 health care provider.

This election was a rejection of the anti-women’s health agenda that some in Congress have pursued for the last two years and that Mitt Romney would have continued. Voters rejected some of the nation’s most vocal and extreme opponents of safe and legal abortion, including Todd Akin in Missouri, showing that voters are opposed to policies that demean and dismiss women.

This election should send an unmistakable message to state legislatures — that women do not want politicians to intervene in their personal medical decisions.

Martha Stevens is a Columbia resident and a graduate student at MU's School of Social Work.

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Jimmy Bearfield January 21, 2013 | 11:55 a.m.

"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 health care provider."

I agree. That's why a woman who can't afford to support a child but chooses to make one anyway should be automatically ineligible -- along with her child -- for WIC, TANF, Medicaid and other welfare. It should be entirely up to her and the father to support it.

(Report Comment)
Joanne Schrader January 24, 2013 | 2:19 a.m.

You also seem to belong to the moral relativism camp and reflects the ideology behind Planned Parenthood's new campaign of "Not in Her Shoes". The fact is that there some things which are intrinsically evil, thus immoral. The deliberate direct act of taking innocent human life is one of those things. Abortion falls into that category because a living human being is purposely destroyed in the womb. Politicians should act to protect and defend all human life, which is our first inalienable right. Unfortunately, some set aside that obligation. In fact, when polled the majority of Americans are uncomfortable with unlimited abortion on demand and want the 135 provisions enacted in the last two years. They elected representatives and senators to do that very thing.

Furthermore, virtually all abortions on done on healthy mothers with healthy babies. Abortion is a violent unnatural act on mothers and pre-born children's bodies.

It should also be noted that politicians pass all types of regulations concerning our bodies, medicine, and which decisions are legal e.g. food/beverage consumption, drugs, smoking, alcohol, tanning, salons, cosmetics, etc. Yet, abortion is somehow so sacrosanct that for pro-life legislators it's completely hands off? Come on, get real.

Health and safety regulations and inspections save women's lives from unscrupulous abortionists. One only has to look at Kermit Gosnell's House of Horrors, the pictures of a that recently closed facility in Muskegon, or the mill that received a 76 page deficiency report in Alabama after sending three women to the hospital. This is but a recent tip of the iceberg. Planned Parenthood in St. Louis sent four women to the emergency room following elective abortions since November 21, 2012. What kind of dangerous quackery is going on there? Yet, the abortion industry has nothing to say about shoddy practices happening this very moment and prefers we look the other way while they carry on their dirty business as usual. Not much different than the bad old days.

While Planned Parenthood stresses women's health and prevention in every sound bite, the fact is they are the nation's largest abortion provider. Their latest annual report shows they performed over 333,000 abortions. Their comprehensive sex education and contraceptive prevention efforts are obviously not working. They're having the opposite effect because their abortion numbers go up every year. Though the amount of government funding they receive also continues to rise yearly (it's up to half a billion), their cancer screenings went down. Despite what Obama says, they don't do mammograms.

So you see Ms. Stevens, politicians should not remove themselves from this important conversation. And the pro-life public refuses to sit down and shut up when so much is at stake. The right to life is the human and civil rights issue of our day.

(Report Comment)

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