The women of Alabama speak out on the state’s new abortion laws

Image Source: KUT 90.5

By David McManus Jr | @davidmcmanusjr 

The Roe V. Wade case became a crucial part of America’s legal precedent in 1973, as the court ruling guaranteed women a constitutional right to legal abortion.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg recently spoke about the slew of laws that would go into place should Roe V. Wade be overturned, with the most extreme instance occurring in the state of Alabama.

The new law in Alabama was introduced in order for the Supreme Court to reconsider the Roe V. Wade case.

This would result in a lack of legal abortion procedures, including instances of rape and incest, and if found guilty, women could be charged with a felony.

The scrutiny surrounding the new laws in America has attracted critical responses from both the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood who announced legal action in response.

Even President Donald Trump has denounced the policies over Twitter.

*Natasha lived in Alabama from 2005-2013 and describes herself as pro-choice.

“They (women) have been, are and will be impacted. Less severe laws in the US have resulted in women being sent to prison for having miscarriages”, Natasha said on the topic of the new laws.

“The issue is pretty split. You have people marching in front of Senate House in Montgomery and all over the state in protest, even many anti-abortion activists felt the law went too far.”

Natasha also responded to the ‘no uterus, no opinion’ sentiment.

“That’s extremely stupid. Many pro-choice men spoke on a platform applauded by feminists. What they mean is ‘don’t voice opinions I don’t like’. Half of the anti-abortion movement is women.”

Felicia Jones (24) a Southern Alabama resident who describes herself as pro-life also gave her perspective on the matter.

Ms Jones believes that her position as a mother and a female impacts her opinion on the issue.

“My opinion is based on understanding the risky and emotionally scarring process of how abortions occur,” she said.

“Arbitrarily determining which stage of foetal development determines personhood is a precarious line to tread. I would encourage anyone who is interested in this issue to learn about the details on how abortion procedures are performed,” as well as adding that everyone needs to “research the mental and emotional traumas that women face after their procedures.”

On the topic of the ‘no uterus, no opinion’ debate, Ms Jones believes it “infers that because a woman carries the baby in her womb, that she should be the only one who should decide to carry to term or abort the pregnancy”.

“While the mother may physically carry the child, the father can face depression and emotional scarring from his child being aborted as a woman can,” she said.

“In the United States, a man is required to pay child support if the child is born, so I would argue that in the United States both men and women should be able to have a say on the issue.”

When discussing the political leanings of the state, Ms Jones mentioned how other women may feel and how America is forced to confront the topic.

“My state is much more conservative compared to others such as New York or Virginia, so I am not made to feel like a minority,” Ms Jones said.

“I do have many friends that believe similarly to myself and others who are pro-choice, but I argue that this diversity of opinion enriches the search for truth on the topic of abortion.

“At the very least, I understand my position in a deeper way than I otherwise would have.”

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives in the state of Louisiana passed an abortion ban in a 79-23 majority vote, which will mean abortion is banned once a foetal heartbeat is detected.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has said he will sign the bill if it crosses his desk.

Many activist groups, such as the West Alabama Clinic Defenders (WACD), have already begun to protest the new laws.

WACD chairperson Helmi Henkin said her organisation is committed to protecting abortion rights in Alabama.

Alabama is a conservative-leaning state, and the Republicans have a supermajority in the House and Senate, so they have more political power to pass these restrictions,” she said. 

“But there is still a vibrant progressive community that exists all across Alabama that is dedicated to promoting civil rights.

With everyone’s attention on abortion rights right now, there are a variety of ways for people to get involved. As long as the clinic is open, WACD will be here to protect patients, companions, and staff from harassment by protestors.

We are dedicated to keeping the clinic safe even in the face of aggressively violent obstacles.”

The new bill will not take effect for another six months and will likely be subject to numerous court challenges.

 

*Names of people and places have been changed for privacy reasons.

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