The shared belief that politicians should not interfere in this personal decision doesn't need a label. The number of Americans who support access to safe and legal abortion is consistently higher than the number who identify themselves as "pro-choice." And many who identify themselves as "pro-life" are in fact opposed to any government intrusion upon a woman's decisions about her pregnancy.
That's because labels like "pro-choice" and "pro-life" don't reflect the complexity of the issue. No matter what they call themselves or where they align politically, generations of Americans have understood that the question is just not that simple. Abortion has unfortunately become a political issue, but we must not lose sight of the fact that it is first and foremost a deeply personal issue - one that is not easily assigned to "for" or "against" boxes.
In November, voters rejected some of the nation's most vocal and extreme opponents of safe and legal abortion. Despite that, some politicians remain obsessed with eliminating or chipping away at abortion access. In state after state, legislators keep trying to build barriers to services, efforts that fly in the face of public opinion.
During the most recent legislative session in Harrisburg, lawmakers passed and Gov. Corbett signed legislation to impose politically motivated regulations on abortion centers. Purportedly designed to protect women, the bill actually required centers to make unnecessary, costly, and burdensome renovations that have nothing to do with patient safety.
Meanwhile, although the federal health-care reform law restricts insurance coverage for abortion by requiring women to pay for the service separately, some Pennsylvania legislators apparently found that insufficiently arduous. They are proposing additional restrictions on abortion coverage without an exception for women with significant health complications, leaving those already facing difficult decisions to incur financial burdens as well.
The availability of health care should not be dictated by the whims of state legislatures. 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 other health-care provider. We at Planned Parenthood support women in whatever decision they make: This is our promise. We've protected women's access to abortion for 40 years, and we will continue to protect it for the next 40 and beyond
Dayle Steinberg is president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania. She can be reached via email@example.com.