ABORTION-REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS

A:

In 1973, the Supreme Court made abortion legal in the United States. I think that was a proper decision, and I agree with former President Bill Clinton that abortions in America should be “safe, legal and rare.”

I believe abortion is a deeply personal issue and should be decided according to the dictates of a woman’s own conscience. Abortion is an issue of private, not public, morality, and the government has no business making or restricting that decision.

Yet there has been an ongoing assault on women’s rights, particularly when it comes to our reproductive freedoms. I have a deep concern about the chipping away of reproductive rights in the United States.

In several states, restrictive measures such as the closing of abortion clinics and forced vaginal probes are currently in play; these are anathema to me.

Indeed, the second decade of the 21st century has seen a sharp increase in anti-contraceptive and anti-abortion legislation in the U.S., nearly eliminating access for many. In 2013 alone, 22 states adopted 70 different restrictions including limits on medical abortions and bans on insurance coverage. This may be a rapidly accelerating trend. In 2013, 27 of the 50 states were considered hostile to reproductive rights, more than double the number in 2000, while the number of states with laws supportive of reproductive rights dropped from 17 to13. Today, a majority of U.S. women -- 56 percent -- live in states considered hostile to reproductive rights.

I stated in the past -- in 2006, in fact -- that I would support "speed bumps," a series of three neutral counseling sessions for any woman considering an abortion, in order to guarantee that her decision was neither impulsive nor casual. It was pointed out to me that in fact this was a bad idea, given that it could cause hardship and might even be impossible for some women to comply. I agree.  Something that was good therapeutic advice -- to slow down, to make a decision wisely -- did not in fact translate into a good idea for a law.

I will passionately resist any restriction of, limitation on, or diminishment of our reproductive freedoms granted by Roe v. Wade. The women of America need champions in Congress to stand up for our most basic rights, and I will be that.  I am proudly pro-choice.


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