Opinion: Access to Safe and Legal Abortion is an Established Right

Guest Editorial
Access to safe and legal abortion isn’t just a constitutional right; it is a human right. The United Nations has been very clear that women have a right to a safe abortion, and that denying them access to this care is a violation of their human rights, as well as our national rights. The Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade recognized the constitutional right for women to make their own medical decisions.

Abortion bans are unconstitutional attempts to impose restrictions on access to safe and legal abortions. The legislature’s top priority should not be infringing on this right but protecting it. Florida is one of the last states in the southeast that has not erected extensive barriers to abortion. If it should do so, Floridians will have to travel as far away as North Carolina to access this care, or resort to other means.

Senator Kelli Stargel and Representative Erin Grall, with our local Rep. Tommy Gregory co-sponsoring, have filed a 15-week abortion ban bill that is moving quickly through the legislative process. Our legislators are prioritizing divisive legislation that prevents Floridians from accessing safe and legal healthcare. 

The sad truth is that as the legislative attacks on abortion continue, it becomes harder for women to access a safe, legal and affordable abortion early in their pregnancies.  Limiting abortion access targets low-income women. Women with resources can travel long distances to other states to find the care that they need. Low-income women will either become desperate, and possibly injure themselves or use the services of a ‘back alley butcher', or carry the baby to term inflicting these women and their families with additional burdens that they have no ability to handle.

Why are politicians who claim to care about life focusing on this instead of reducing infant and maternal mortality?  What could make a difference to this mortality would include expanding healthcare and access to birth control. 

The safe way to decrease the number of abortions is by increasing sex education and accessibility to birth control. A focus should be placed upon teaching young women what their choices are and allowing them to pick the choices that work best for them. 

N. Alice Newlon is the President of the League of Women Voters of Manatee County

Reader Comments
Alene Gauthier
FEB 03, 2022  •  Abortion is absolutely NOT a human right. It is a method to quickly get rid of a baby who is not wanted. It rids the father of the responsibility to help support that child. And it allows the mother to merrily carry on with her life. BUT that baby is now dead. If that mother and father do NOT want children THEN prevent it; don't kill the baby after the fact.
Philip Friedman
FEB 02, 2022  •  I strongly agree with this editorial, and also with the previous two comments. It's time to stop letting the anti-choice spokespeople frame themselves as "pro-life," unless they demonstrate that they actually do something for children after they are born.
FEB 02, 2022  •  Many “old way” republican representatives are going to find that their republican constituents will no longer vote them back into office when they choose to limit a woman’s access to safe and legal healthcare. This bill will not stop abortion; this will just force women to make unsafe healthcare choices. If you don’t personally believe in abortion, police your own body and don’t get one. Leave the rest to make their own choice.
Ruth Lawler
FEB 02, 2022  •  Excellent letter, well written and logical. Abortion is legal and a human right. Stop legislating against women's rights and bodies.