Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Kamala Shugar
Today marks the 39th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision. This landmark ruling guaranteed that the right to privacy in the U.S. Constitution protects the right of a woman to choose whether to continue a pregnancy to term or have a safe and legal abortion. In other words, the highest court in the land recognized that women and families - not politicians - should have the right to make their own medical decisions without government interference.
Nearly four decades later, I have to ask: Why aren't our leaders listening?
The simple fact is, no matter what they call themselves or where they align politically, a majority of Americans support Roe and respect the decision that each woman makes about her own reproductive health and pregnancy. Yet, in 2011, anti-women's health politicians across the country did just about everything in their power to undermine Roe and gut access to safe and legal abortion care, along with access to family planning and Planned Parenthood health centers:
According to the Guttmacher Institute, state legislatures last year passed more than triple the number of abortion restrictions than in 2010 - the highest ever. Twenty-four states enacted 92 new abortion restrictions in 2011, shattering the previous record of 34 adopted in 2005.
Each of the Republican presidential candidates has pledged to limit women's rights by overturning Roe. It doesn't stop there: They're all promising to eliminate the nation's family planning program that provides birth control for more than 5 million women and men a year.
Here in Oregon, efforts are under way to amend the state constitution to declare "personhood" for fertilized eggs, which could result in outlawing birth control, in vitro …