A new policy in the state of Alabama has placed a harsh ban on abortions, which disallows abortions even in cases of rape or incest. This policy is currently being considered for adoption by multiple other states including Oklahoma, Missouri, and Texas.
This policy is dangerous to women who are victims of sexual abuse, low-income women without birth control and most importantly it threatens women’s freedom in society. To understand why Alabama’s ban on abortions is so dangerous, certain facets must be understood about the practices of abortion in America.
Regardless of the safety, regulation or affordability of abortions, women will continue to have the procedure. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a US-based reproductive health non-profit, the abortion rate is 37 per 1,000 people in countries that prohibit abortion altogether or allow it only in instances to save a woman’s life, and 34 per 1,000 people in countries that broadly allow for abortion. Despite the difference in policies, the disparity of women who receive abortions is minimal. The real difference can be seen in the safety of the procedures, in which women who are legally, or socially, disallowed abortions continue with an under-the-table procedure and are placed at very high health risks.
Prohibiting abortions does not stop women from having the procedure. It only causes the safety and legitimacy of the abortions to become unregulated. However, when abortions are legally performed by a healthcare professional and done in sanitary conditions, which is very rare in areas that ban abortion, abortion procedures are among the safest medical procedures. According to Amnesty International, a London based non-governmental organization, a regulated abortion is even safer than childbirth.
Additionally, many people do not realize the impact that anti-abortion policies have on the LGBTQ community. Along with women, many transgender individuals need access to safe abortions. However, according to the National LGBTQ Task Force, 28 percent of transgendered individuals report facing harassment in medical settings, as well as 19 percent being denied treatment due to their transgender status. The right to abortion is not only a women’s issue, it is a world issue. Although abortion is seen as immoral, the benefits this procedure can have on an individual’s life can be immense. A rape victim should not need to change her life’s trajectory because they are impregnated, and policy must allow women of at least 18 weeks to legally receive an abortion, if desired.
Alabama’s ban on abortions in its state challenged Roe V. Wade, the original court ruling that gave women a “right to privacy” when it came to abortion, effectively legalizing it. Alabama’s pro-life representatives challenged this ruling by arguing for the humanity of fetuses, stating that a fetus has a heartbeat, and is therefore entitled to full legal rights. This argument completely devalues the individual carrying the fetus by forcing them to fully carry out a pregnancy against their will, despite the circumstances that caused their pregnancy.