It Has Come To This

Samantha Inesta – Human Rights Fellow & Executive Director BeaSister2aSister

For decades women have been fighting for reproductive rights and freedom of choice. Roe v. Wade has been debated, almost put on the chopping block and revived. But this time it might not get a second chance. Alabama has put a new law in place that would criminalize abortion, meaning the doctor performing the procedure will be held as a felon and then jailed-as if the jails are not over crowded enough. On May 15th Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act which outlaws abortion with the exception of a health risk to the mother. There is no, I repeat NO exceptions for victims of rape and incest. What does that mean for women who have survived these traumatic experiences? It means a constant reminder of the man who raped her or the family member who sexually abused her while forcing her to carry to term a child that will never erase the stigma of the incestuous encounter. This new law doesn’t even provide counseling, therapy or other options for healing. Women all over the country are looking at this as an outright assault on their reproductive rights and pro-choice beliefs.

Alabama is an ultra-conservative state that has it’s morals in a backward spiral. At one point girls as young as 14 could get married to a man as old as 40 with no say what so ever. That has now changed-they can now get married at 16. This should tell everyone where Alabama’s priorities lye. If they are willing to have a child marriage crisis then they are willing to push women in to the back alley abortions days complete with coat hangers and hemorrhages. The clash between the old and new generation is causing a back and forth eruption of patriarchy and progressives. But what we’ve seen in this particular instance is a somewhat matriarchal figure selling out women and girls with a bill that will destroy their access to comprehensive reproductive care. This is the far right’s not so secret weapon. Using women that are beyond child bearing age who have adopted a more conservative stance in their later years to do their dirty work while dividing women all over the country.

Hardliners such as Pat Robertson have even said that this law goes too far and is very extreme especially when it comes to survivors of rape and incest. Even the far right is divided. This is not a challenge to Roe v. Wade it’s an out and out annihilation of the bill to be replaced with legislation that takes away all reproductive rights and autonomy from women’s bodies. Who will suffer the most? Women of color, women in poverty and of course immigrant women. Imagine being brought to another country by a man who sexually abuses and impregnates you to then give birth to a child that is a product of that abuse with no where to turn for help. Our only hope is that other states don’t follow Alabama’s lead and criminalize abortion. This will lead to anti-abortion terrorists who will bomb clinics, threaten women going to these clinics and gun violence inside the clinics. This has happened in the past and will happen again. You can’t be pro-life and pro-murder at the same time.