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.