This is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that affirmed a woman’s right to have an abortion. The day is being marked by both pro-choice and pro-life advocates, but Jessica Dauphin, external affairs manager with Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, says it’s time to remove those labels, because the decision is complex and deeply personal.
“Look at everyone as just an individual and say ‘Man, I cannot make decisions for you’ and I wouldn’t want someone else, like politicians, making decisions for me. So let’s give everyone the legality and right to make decisions for themselves and be respectful in that.”
As part of the shift away from labels, Planned Parenthood has launched a campaign called ‘Not in Her Shoes.’ Dauphin says the effort has people posting pictures of their shoes and talking about why reproductive health decisions need to be personal.
“For those who don’t face that decision, I think it might be hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, so let’s just not. Let’s just acknowledge the fact that we walk on our own journey, in our own lives, and let’s not take away rights for others.”
In the decades since the Roe v. Wade decision, there have been various efforts to restrict abortion locally and nationally. Dauphin says that’s why those who support a woman’s right to choose must stay vigilant.
“We are currently facing a ballot initiative that will be on our ballot in 2014, that would change our state constitution and that could impact the legality of abortion in Tennessee, if Roe v. Wade were overturned.”
The group Tennessee Right to Life is holding rallies in Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville, calling for the defense of all innocent human beings, born and unborn. A new poll by the Pew Research Center says only 29% of Americans want Roe v. Wade overturned.