Depending on which poll you read, anywhere from 55 percent to 70 percent of the people of these United States believe that abortion should be safe and legal. At the high end of that percentage are those who believe Roe v. Wade should remain the law of the land.
How, then, could we be where we are? Today, more than half of the states have restrictions that effectively deny many women access to safe and legal abortion, never mind the Constitution.
Reproductive justice organizations, though, are far from caving.
Donna Crane, Vice President for Policy, NARAL Pro-Choice America, recently met with groups of supporters in the San Francisco Bay area to go over details of all this, and to reassure supporters that "although these (restrictive state laws) keep happening and we are losing ground, we've not lost power." That power, Crane says, comes from the solid, and growing, percentage of people who want to keep abortion safe and legal and believe it is a woman's right to control what happens to her own body.
"The public," Crane says, "is not the problem. The problem is that our opponents have figured out how to get their way: they have switched (from working to overturn Roe v. Wade) to the state legislatures. And there is a disconnect with American values."
Crane outlined the dramatic increase in TRAP laws (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers), state regulations designed to put unnecessary burdens on abortion providers -- but not other medical professionals -- as a way to drive doctors out of practice and to make abortion care more difficult and expensive to obtain. Anti-choice measures in the states have increased from 18 in 1995 to a cumulative total of 807 by 2013. They include such requirements as unnecessary hallway widths in clinics, forced untrasounds, repeat visits and forcing physicians to lie to their patients. That's just to name a few.
To this writer, none of this is about one side winning and the majority losing, it's simply about justice. Anybody, anywhere with money and resources can access safe and legal abortion. But if you're poor, down on your luck, living in a remote or impoverished area, and you want or need to terminate an unplanned pregnancy? Forget it. Legislators don't have time for you; you probably don't vote much. Politicians don't care about you; you aren't funding their campaigns. Anti-choice forces don't care about you, only about your fetus. For you, there is no justice.
NARAL, however, has your back. Now, we just have to get the rest of us out front in your behalf.