The Alabama Senate has just made history by effectively banning abortion at every stage, emboldened by the support of the primarily conservative Republican Supreme Court. This attempt directly challenges the historic Roe Vs Wade ruling which protects a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.
The death of Roe vs. Wade is imminent, with Alabama having just made history for all of the wrong reasons. Days ago, the Alabama House of Representatives voted to approve legislation making abortion at any stage illegal. The measure makes the performing of an abortion a criminal offense, with doctors facing up to 99 years in prison. Although it does include an exception for the women’s health, it does not extend to cases of rape or incest.
The way our once great nation is heading, pretty soon we will be transported back to the dark ages of back alley and coat hanger abortions conducted by desperate young girls and women with no other options. To be forced to carry a fetus that is unwanted or created out of traumatic events is an injustice no woman should have to endure.
Lack of Responsibility
Just a few weeks ago we thought we had seen the worst of the wave of legislation against abortion, with the HeartBeat Bill passed in Ohio. Since then, Alabama has become emboldened, passing an even more restrictive bill, effectively banning abortion entirely. After the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, conservative states have grown even bolder and more confident in their fight to overturn the Roe Vs. Wade Amendment. Our constitution states that we as citizens of the United States have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
These women lose their previous life, the freedom of self- autonomy, and experience great suffering by continuing an unwanted pregnancy. Legislation claiming to protect babies is, in reality, a thinly veiled assault on women’s equality. Without control over their bodies, women are doomed to remain economically disadvantaged – unable to break through the glass ceiling or even attain a modicum of financial security.
Politicians claim to care so much about life, yet they give little to no thought to the women being forced to carry to term a baby they may not even want or have the ability to care for. These policymakers take no responsibility to feed and clothe a human being for the next eighteen years, nor are they forced to put their education and careers on hold in favor of raising a child. With this new bill, the life of the fetus is prioritized over a woman’s existing children; Mothers may be unable to continue providing for them, forced to give up her job and financial security for a baby she cannot afford. Until lawmakers can guarantee access to birth control, affordable housing, economic security and equity, and freedom from sexual assault laws such as the recent Alabama legislation and Ohio’s Heartbeat Bill have no business being drafted in the first place.
I don’t know much about biology, but I do know that not all women know that they are pregnant within the first few weeks for a variety of reasons; some women may show signs early, while others experience no symptoms until later on in the pregnancy. Not every pregnancy is the same and to ban any abortion after six weeks denies a woman the chance to terminate a pregnancy for which she may not be emotionally, financially, or mentally ready.
At five weeks, a woman may not even know that she is pregnant, yet her choices regarding her future and her body have been stripped away by a government that imposes opinions and beliefs onto her without consent; A government that affords less protection to women than to a fetus is not a government of the people or for the people.
The desire to outlaw abortion and regulate women’s bodies to the point of controlling their future is a popular trend among Republican politicians, who are more concerned with the morality of abortion than the serious impact forced childbirth would have on women.
As a young female college student, I am lucky to have access to contraception and to live in a state where I still have control over my reproductive health. There are women who are not as lucky, who are forced to travel to a different state to get a legal abortion, assuming they can afford it. I fear the day this bill spreads to other states and refuse to allow my body to be policed by conservative politicians, who value the life of a collection of cells over a living and breathing constituent. A woman’s body is hers and hers alone, no politician has a claim to it.