February 2, 2013

Another View: Abortion restrictions put decision making in wrong hands

Making it harder for women to choose when to have a family interferes with private matters.

By RACHAEL MYERS HEALY

Sadly, M.D. Harmon is correct that since the Roe v. Wade decision 40 years ago, some politicians have made it their priority to stop women from making their own decisions about if and when to have a family ("Abortion still legal, but new laws help women think twice about it," Jan. 25).

Threats to reproductive freedom have reached record levels, with legislators passing countless provisions designed to interfere with a woman's most private decisions.

Maine has faced its own share of proposed new restrictions. In the last few years, politicians in Augusta have proposed bills to make women wait before having an abortion and to force doctors to describe fetal development to women seeking an abortion, among other things.

These attempts to make it harder for women to exercise their guaranteed rights are troubling and unnecessary. Maine women take decisions about whether to have an abortion very seriously, and we should trust them to make the decisions that are best for themselves and their families. Thankfully, the majority in the Legislature rejected these bills -- as they should when more wrongheaded attempts to restrict women's rights arise.

Harmon writes that further restrictions would help women resist pressure from their families, husbands and boyfriends to have an abortion.

If this were indeed a widespread occurrence -- and there's plenty of information that says it is not -- Harmon should recognize the real problem with this scenario is not the availability of safe, legal abortion. The real problem would be the people Harmon describes who are forcing women to make unwanted decisions about their bodies.

Rachael Myers Healy is communications and public education director for the ACLU of Maine.

 

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