As abortion limitations spread across eight states, lawmakers discuss the future of abortion in America.
It all began with the Alabama ban signed on May 15, which would criminalize all abortion and result in a sentence of up to 99 years in prison for doctors who perform them. This ban does not have exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
This ban was designed to challenge the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which decided that the U.S. constitution protects a fundamental “right to privacy” that protects a woman’s choice to have an abortion. The bill challenged this decision by arguing that a fetus is a person and is therefore due full rights.
Yashica Robinson, a doctor at the Alabama Women’s Center, one of the four abortion clinics in the state, argued in the filing that the law “directly conflicts with Roe and more than four decades of Supreme Court precedent affirming its central holding.” Adding that the law would inflict harm on patients “by violating their constitutional rights, threatening their health and well-being, and forcing them to continue their pregnancies to term against their will.”
While Alabama is the only state currently to put a nearly complete ban on abortion including cases of rape or incest, it is not the only state to put down restrictions. Missouri, Ohio, Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi have all passed “fetal heartbeat” bills, which restricted access of abortion after there is a heartbeat detected from the fetus, with four other states taking this bill into consideration.
Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas are all currently pending the same ban Alabama passed currently.
There laws were met with national protest as well, from Washington DC to Washington State. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee protested along with abortion rights activists, joining them in Olympia.
Emma Brockes, columnist for “The Guardian,” commented on the Alabama law makers in an opinion article. “Republicans in favour of banning abortion are by and large against banning guns because, by their own logic, ‘banning things doesn’t work.’ It was observed that the ‘life’ of a six-week-old bunch of cells is precious to these men, but the life of a child born to a mother of no means, in a state that voted to repeal Obamacare – that notional kid, not so much.”
“Human Life of Washington,” a pro-life organization in Washington, whose “About Us” page on their official website states that “we serve, unify, and support the pro-life community in Washington as the premier consultants on the life issue, functioning as the hub of the pro-life movement in Washington state.” They gave a statement regarding the recent bans, mainly focusing on the “fetal heartbeat” bills.
The statement reads as following: “We speak up for the inherent value of human life from the moment of conception. When we see bills like the ‘heartbeat bill,’ we support the principle that human life should be preserved, and every woman considering abortion should be given the best available science and full disclosure of risks to make her decision. Nationally, what we are seeing is an effort to either affirm the dignity of human life through bills like the ‘Heartbeat Bill,’ or attempts to extinguish the value of every human life.”
10 states, including Washington, are passing laws to protect abortion, rather than restricting it.
You can find a Planned Parenthood clinic in Bellevue, Washington. They offer many services, including abortion, birth control, general health care and HIV testing.
Graphic by Hannah Matson / The Watchdog