By Becka Wall – @beckawall

On September 18, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to deny $500 million in federal funding to Planned Parenthood, widely regarded as one of the oldest and most trusted health care providers in the country. This week, the U.S. Senate debated and did a procedural vote on a 20-week abortion ban. Though the bill failed to move forward, the Senate leadership can bring it up again at any time.

These attacks have been tied to recent “sting” videos targeting Planned Parenthood, which first surfaced in July from the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress. Two things were wildly clear when watching these videos:

  1. The videos have been heavily edited to match the Center for Medical Progress’ mission and narrative.
  2. This was part of a nationwide effort to end the right to have an abortion.

For the past five years, anti-abortion state governors and state legislative majorities have passed an astounding number of restrictions on abortion. These laws, like Texas’ now-infamous law H.B. 2 for example, have shut down clinics and forced women to drive hundreds of miles just to exercise their constitutional right to have an abortion. In the last four years alone, states have enacted a total of 231 anti-abortion restrictions.

Despite what many believe, abortion is actually a common experience –  one in three American women will have an abortion in her lifetime. And despite what anti-abortion extremists want people to think, having an abortion doesn’t mean you hate kids – 61 percent of women who have an abortion are already mothers.

Abortion access is about a woman’s right to control their lives, bodies and destinies. It’s about determining your own future. Abortion access is about economic security and ensuring a family can be provided and cared for in the right environment.

Outraged women have been sharing their stories with the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion. Abortion has been practiced for millennia and will be practiced for millennia even if we try to outlaw it. So why not stand up for women’s health and safety? Going back to the days of back-alley abortions is not an option.

Let’s work to expand and protect reproductive rights and fight together for gender equality.

Full disclosure: the author works at a pro-choice organization.