In recent months we have seen increasingly restrictive abortion bills signed into law in Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia aimed to obstruct and undermine the groundwork laid by Roe v. Wade. Most recently Alabama passed HB 314, which limits a woman’s right to receive an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, sooner than many women learn they are pregnant. Many OB/GYN offices do not schedule confirmation pregnancy testing via diagnostic ultrasound until after eight weeks. This bill also makes no exceptions for survivors of incest or rape. In cases of medical emergencies, there must be “immediate death or substantial physical impairment” to warrant the procedure.
This law could potentially be used to prosecute women who seek abortions or have a miscarriage. A doctor who performs the procedure could face up to 99 years in prison.
The topic of reproductive rights will always be polarizing, with both sides equally steadfast in their beliefs. But many women who are pro-choice would not make the choice for themselves and many women who are pro-life would agree there are circumstances in which an abortion is the safest option.
Our motto has always been Mujeres Siempre Unidas (Women Always United), and now more than ever it is imperative that we stand for women, defend women, and protect women. Because when we do this we protect us all.
The rhetoric in support of these sweeping laws tend to focus on the sanctity of life and the irresponsibility of women. Often until you are in a situation you cannot truly know how you would handle it. And that is the problem with the laws that are being enacted, they are being enacted largely by men who will never find themselves in a situation where they may be forced to carry their rapist’s baby to term. Criminalizing abortion does not stop it from happening, it simply stops it from happening safely.
The policing of women’s bodies has a long and tumultuous history – pretending to be concerned with the institution of family when in fact the goals have always been to oppress and control.
Taking care of women, allowing them to make responsible decisions about their own bodies is far more helpful for the sanctity of family and society as a whole. This is beyond the choice of becoming mother, it is how she chooses to shape her entire life.
Every life IS precious. But the same passion in regulating reproductive rights should be directed towards helping the large and disparate numbers of children in foster care. There are 443,000 children in foster care on any given day, more than 17,000 young people age out of foster care without permanent families, and one third of children entering U.S. foster care are young people of color. Our focus should be on the lives of those struggling to survive in a world that only fights for them until they are born.
And as always, VOTE.