Why I Fight to Keep Abortion Safe and Legal

Your Take: Mississippi's new law blocking access is one reason, says Law & Order: SVU actress.

Riccardo S. Savi/FilmMagic
Riccardo S. Savi/FilmMagic

I have a good friend who comes to mind a lot lately, now that it seems barely 24 hours can pass without the news reporting on some new bill or state law aimed at eliminating women’s access to safe, legal abortion.

Years ago, I went to a Planned Parenthood health center with this friend, who had to end her pregnancy due to health problems that could have killed her. She had cysts that caused very heavy bleeding and made the pregnancy far too risky to carry to term. Planned Parenthood was the only option for her to get the medical care she needed to save her life.

The prospect of my friend dying was beyond frightening. She was a young, vital woman with a passion for life and so much left to accomplish. Fortunately, she also had a provider to turn to for this medical care. I don’t know what she would have done if that option had not been available to her.

Because I know what my friend went through, I find it terrifying when I see politicians like Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant working to cut off women’s access to abortion by shutting down the health centers that safely provide them to women.

Recently, Bryant signed a bill into law that was specifically designed to shut down the state’s only abortion provider. The law goes into effect July 1, and includes requirements that medical experts say will do nothing to improve patient safety, but will likely eliminate Mississippi women’s access to safe abortion.   

Lawmakers in Alabama are considering similar legislation, and across the country in states like Georgia, Arizona and Wisconsin, legislators are doing all they can to prevent or interfere with a woman’s ability to make her own health care decisions in consultation with her family, her doctor and her faith.