Abortion needs to remain legal

Amy Jacobson


This month, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed a deceptive “Sanctity of Human Life Month” Proclamation. The proclamation uses the language of groups that work to ban abortion without exceptions and is an affront to women and the voters of North Dakota who rejected such strident language.

January also marks the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, reminding us of our history before safe and legal abortion — and what could again become a reality for women across the country.

This historic ruling affirmed that the U.S. Constitution protects each person’s right to privacy, including the privacy of all women to make their own medical decisions. In the four decades since Roe, we have seen abortion rates drop nationwide, as more and more people have access to birth control and comprehensive sex education.

A recent Pew Research Center poll confirms that the majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and about seven in 10 oppose overturning Roe v. Wade. And North Dakotans agree. In 2014, voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure that would have banned abortion with no exceptions by a 2:1 vote.

For 45 years since the Roe v. Wade decision, the Constitution has protected every woman’s right to make her own decisions about abortion. Yet politicians in North Dakota have made it clear they will stop at nothing to end access to safe, legal abortion.

At the national level, the Trump administration recently used every tool at its disposal to prevent a young immigrant woman from accessing health care — essentially holding her hostage to prevent her from accessing a safe, legal abortion. Thankfully, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals stopped the administration and allowed her to access the care she needed.

Politicians shouldn’t be making out-of-touch proclamations or decisions for women about their pregnancies or families. No matter who occupies the Oval Office, holds a majority in Congress, or sits in the state legislature, Planned Parenthood will fight to ensure that abortion remains safe and legal in this country. We believe deeply in the right of all people — no matter who they are, where they live, or what they earn — to make their own decisions about their bodies, families, and lives, without political interference.

The decision to parent, end a pregnancy, or choose adoption is deeply personal — and no one should have to justify that decision. To ensure abortion remains safe and legal for future generations, we must replace ‘fake news’ with facts and have honest conversations about abortion in America today.

An estimated one in three women will end a pregnancy in their lifetime and every individual’s personal decision about their pregnancy should be respected. No one can make that decision for someone else. Planned Parenthood ensures women have access to high quality care and accurate information about all their options, so they can make fully informed decisions.

For more than 100 years, Planned Parenthood has provided education and resources to help people stay healthy, care for their families, and reach their life goals — and we will be here for generations to come.

Jacobson is state director, external affairs for Planned Parenthood in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.