I remember when women had no right to choose in this country.

Forty years ago, if a woman got pregnant, there were no medical or social organizations to offer help. She had to go around the law to get an abortion, risking treatments that might not have been safe, often from untrained practitioners.

Some women tried different types of injections intended to induce miscarriage. Others had treatments that left their uteruses bleeding and eventually scarred. Others could no longer have children.

With the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in January 1973, a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion became legal and, as a consequence, much safer for women making that choice.

It’s a personal decision, and now it is a safe one.

When some folks try to chip away at this right to choose, they forget two things: that, no matter what, some women will opt for abortion and the safety for those women is paramount.

Even now, there is more we can do in Maine. As of 2008, 69 percent of Maine counties had no abortion provider, and 51 percent of Maine women lived in those counties.

According to the Guttmacher Institute (www. guttmacher.org), one in three women will have an abortion by the time she is 45 — most of them safely.

I am celebrating the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and also hoping for more access to reproductive health services for women in Maine.

Bets Brown, South China

Public Policy chairwoman

AAUW of Maine

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