NASHVILLE - Tuesday is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that affirmed a woman's right to have an abortion.
The day is being marked by both pro-choice and anti-abortion advocates, but Jessica Dauphin, external affairs manager with Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, says it is 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," Dauphin said. "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 said 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," she said. "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, and Dauphin said that is why those who support a woman's right to choose to have one must stay vigilant.
"We are currently facing a ballot initiative that will be on our ballot in 2014, that would change our state constitution," she said, "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 today 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 found only 29 percent of Americans want Roe v. Wade overturned.