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When Women Have No Choice

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VotesforWomen_small.jpgToday is Women's Equality Day and the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing a woman's right to vote.

While our country has made incredible strides to protect and expand women's rights, the celebration of women's equality feels bittersweet when 43 anti-choice measures that undermine a woman's right to decide when to start a family have already been enacted in 2013.

Whether it's mandating waiting periods before a woman can access abortion care, imposing unnecessary regulations on abortion providers in order to close their doors forever or supporting anti-choice "crisis pregnancy centers" (CPCs) that lie to women about their reproductive health and options, these laws endanger women's health and safety by making it impossible for many women to get safe and honest health care. More than 50 abortion providers have been forced to close in the last three years.

If you've ever wondered what it would mean to have no access to abortion services, you only have to look abroad. The numbers show again and again: when abortion is illegal women die, and the number of abortion procedures doesn't decrease.

Take, for example, Kenya, where abortion is completely banned. A new report shows that more than 2,500 women die each year from illegal abortion, and thousands more face severe complications from unsafe abortion procedures. This is a frightening glimpse of what the U.S. could look like if extreme anti-choice laws continue to limit women's access to reproductive-health care.

Meanwhile, Ireland only recently expanded its laws after a young woman died from being denied safe abortion care. Her death sparked such an outrage that the Irish government was persuaded to grant access to abortion when a woman's life is threatened. The very first legal abortion was performed in Ireland this month, and it saved a woman's life.

That's why, on Women's Equality Day - and every day - we work to protect and expand a woman's right to choose by supporting pro-choice candidates and holding anti-choice groups accountable for endangering women's health and safety.

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