The balance of the U.S. Supreme Court just tipped against the constitutional right to safe, legal abortion. Generations to come will feel the effects of Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.
This vote threatens people's right to access abortion and to access health care through the Affordable Care Act. It also minimized the voices of survivors of sexual assault, people with pre-existing conditions and the 1-in-4 women who have had an abortion in their lifetime.
Here in Oregon we are facing our own challenge to a woman's right to make their own health care decisions. Ballot Measure 106 will change the Oregon Constitution to forbid the use of public funds for abortion. It is clear that this is a dangerous backdoor ban on abortion that would cut health care coverage for more than 350,000 vulnerable low-income Oregonians, as well as teachers, firefighters and other public employees.
Let's be clear: A right isn't a right if you can't afford to access it. A woman's right to make personal medical decisions about abortion shouldn't depend on where she lives, how much money she makes or how she's insured.
Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette is proud to provide more than 72,000 patient visits every year with expert, affordable health care — including at our Milwaukie-Oak Grove Health Center and, opening next year, at our Elsie H. Hillman East Portland Health Center.
For many people, Planned Parenthood is the only place they can turn. We may be the only place they can go in their community, or the only place that offers the screening or birth-control method they need. People turn to us for many reasons — because they know and trust our clinicians, because we're part of the community, and because they know they can rely on us for quality, compassionate care and accurate, nonjudgmental health information.
For our patients, it's not about politics. It's about their health care.
Kavanaugh's confirmation is wildly out of touch with Oregon values. Americans believe abortion should be legal. More than 70 percent of Americans support access to abortion, including a majority of Democrats, Independents and Republicans. In fact, a July poll found that support for Roe v. Wade is at its highest since the court issued its landmark ruling in 1973.
Planned Parenthood does more than any other organization to prevent unintended pregnancy. Thanks to increased access to birth control and sex education, Oregon's unintended pregnancy rate has reached a historic low.
Planned Parenthood also is proud to offer abortion services at our health centers — and we believe everyone should have access to abortion, without stigma or barriers. We are committed to providing expert, compassionate health care to patients; protecting the right of all people to make their own personal health care decisions; and providing education to help people live healthy lives.
We will continue to fight to ensure that abortion remains safe and legal in this country. We believe deeply in the right of all people — no matter who they are, where they live or what they earn — to make their own personal decisions about their bodies, their families and their paths in life, without political interference.
Anne Udall serves as president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette. For more information visit PPCW.org.
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