I believe that a woman's right to choose must be kept free from governmental intrusion. For years, this basic freedom has been under consistent attack by anti-choice extremists. I have consistently spoken out against efforts in Congress to infringe on women's rights. The U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade recognized the rights of a woman to make medical decisions about her own body and has established the basis for subsequent protections of this right. Everyone agrees that we need to work to provide the needed health and support services to minimize the number of unintended pregnancies in this country, but the decision to have an abortion must remain in the hands of a woman in consultation with her doctor, clergy, and family.
In addition, schools must educate older children about contraception, the prevention of pregnancy, and avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, including the benefits of choosing abstinence. However, abstinence-only education has been a failure, and I continue to oppose such efforts in Congress as I did at the state level through my "Healthy Teens' legislation. In Congress, I have strongly supported both domestic and international family planning efforts to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions worldwide. Women, both in the United States and abroad, must have the power to make their own reproductive choices.