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Blog for Choice Day 2013: 40 Years of Choice

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Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, wrote this Blog for Choice Day 2013 post in response to the question: "Why are you pro-choice?"

Today marks 40 years of declaring that women have the fundamental right to safe and legal abortion care, free from political interference.

This right has given countless women and men the ability to control their lives and futures. Choosing when and whether to become a parent is probably the biggest decision any two people can make together, and it's one that our government should never dictate.

This is why I'm pro-choice - because I believe that a woman with her conscience, her family, her doctor, and her God is the only one who should be empowered to make decisions about something as personal as her reproductive-health care.

As a Baby Boomer, my generation rallied to achieve this right for the women who were forced to go to back-street providers where they were humiliated and sometimes died from their procedures. But we also fought so that women and men today - and for future generations - would never have to question whether the right to choose was an option.

These last 40 years, we have encountered ever-growing legal attacks on this right. Women in some states and counties are forced to travel hundreds of miles to the nearest health center because anti-choice violence and intimidation have reduced the number of doctors willing to put their lives on the line to provide abortion care. Women throughout the country are forced to have an ultrasound before they can access an abortion - even if she doesn't want one and even if her doctor doesn't recommend it. And for many women who face financial challenges, they are denied from using their Medicaid health plan for abortion care.

As Roe turns 40, opponents of a woman's right to choose are undeterred. But so are we. NARAL Pro-Choice America will continue to fight to protect that right as long as it is under threat.

That's why our annual Blog for Choice Day is so critical. By bringing together hundreds of pro-choice bloggers and activists, we get tens of thousands of people reading and thinking about choice.

We know that our personal stories and shared experiences helped us win these battles, whether it was defeating a "personhood" ballot measure in Mississippi or re-electing pro-choice President Barack Obama to a second term.

Now, we have to keep talking about the importance of choice and build momentum for the work ahead.

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