01/22/2013 02:36 pm ET Updated Mar 24, 2013

Fighting for Our Right to Choose

With its decision in Roe v. Wade 40 years ago, the Supreme Court affirmed that a woman has the constitutional right to exercise control over her own body.

In the ensuing years, pro-choice elected leaders have had to fight to ensure that abortion remains safe, legal and rare. Increasingly, these pro-choice elected leaders are women who have a special perspective on this crucial issue. At the same time, anti-choice zealots have grown even more determined to take away a woman's right to make her own health care decisions.

Planned Parenthood, one of the nation's most-visited health outlets for women, has been inundated with bogus investigations and attacks on its funding. A misogynistic radio host calls a young woman a vulgar name for having the temerity to testify before Congress that health insurance plans should include reproductive health and contraception. Attacks on clinics continue and doctors performing legal health care procedures continue to be murdered in cold blood.

Roe v. Wade guaranteed our right to choose. It didn't guarantee that this right could be taken for granted.

With the attack on choice showing no signs of abating, I believe it will be enormously important for women in visible positions to utilize all the megaphones and microphones we can muster to fight threats to women's health. And there are very few positions with a megaphone as loud as mayor of Los Angeles.

As mayor of America's second largest city, I intend to be a leading voice in the national fight to protect women's health and our right to choose.

As a mayor, I will offer a strong and unique perspective on the importance of health care providers such as Planned Parenthood. As a mother of a child in public school, I will share the importance of health education in avoiding unwanted pregnancies. And as a woman who came of age with the protections of Roe in place, no one will fight harder to make sure that Roe remains the law of the land.

This past election season, with its astonishingly frequent and offensive comments on rape, abortion and contraception, shows that the forces dedicated to eroding and eradicating women's rights are relentless. Abortion opponents are now even trying to hijack the issue of gun control (and conveniently trying to change the subject) by attacking the president's sensible proposals to take on gun violence.

More than 50 years passed between the time a women's right to vote was enshrined in law and the time when our right to control our own bodies was recognized by the highest court in the land. Women shouldn't have to keep fighting for our most basic rights, but we will, no matter how long it takes. And if anyone wonders if the next mayor of Los Angeles will be a leader in that fight -- she will.