What is Choice?
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NARAL Pro-Choice Washington advocates for every woman’s right to access the full range of reproductive options, including safe, legal abortion care and healthy pregnancies. In addition, we support efforts to prevent unintended pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion.
Abortion, performed either surgically in an outpatient clinic or medically through the ingestion of abortifacient drugs, is one of the most common medical procedures in the United States. One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime, and about one in five pregnancies in the US are terminated through medical or surgical abortion. Most women (about 60 percent) who have abortions are already parents, and three-quarters of women cite their responsibilities to other people, including existing children, as a reason for terminating their pregnancies. About half of women who have abortions live below the poverty line.
In 1973, the Supreme Court guaranteed American women the right to choose abortion in its landmark decision Roe v. Wade. In Roe, the Court issued a compromise between the state's ability to restrict abortion and a woman's right to choose.
Since Roe, abortion opponents have worked to restrict abortion rights and limit access to abortion care, by passing laws that impose mandatory waiting periods on women seeking abortions, imposing onerous regulations on abortion clinics, banning many second-trimester abortions, and imposing other restrictions such as parental consent laws and "sex-selective abortion" bans.
In 2016, the Supreme Court overturned two provisions of a Texas law that would have closed all but a handful of the state's remaining abortion clinics. The Texas rules required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and required clinics to be rebuilt as mini-hospitals complete with hospital-style surgical theaters. By overturning this Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) law, the Court laid the groundwork for overturning similar anti-choice laws in other states.
Currently, abortion remains legal but threatened across the country. Eighty-nine percent of US counties lack a single abortion provider. In Washington State, only 64 percent of counties lack a provider, but a swing toward an anti-choice legislative majority could change that. NARAL Pro-Choice Washington works to ensure that our pro-choice state remains that way, and to push lawmakers and other elected officials not just to hold the line but to expand access to safe, legal abortion services.