If you have popped on to social media in the last week or so then you will have seen the plethora of posts signalling their disgust at recent abortion laws passed in the US particularly in Alabama.
Technically it is not illegal in any US state. To do so would go against the US constitution. However, all states are able to post their own restrictions on the rules regarding abortion. Several states have made restrictions so severe that abortion may as well be illegal.
So what do the new abortion laws mean?
While legally the state can not outright ban abortion, they have made their rules so restrictive that they are only allowed in cases where carrying a child is potentially harmful to the mother’s life. The punishments are potentially severe too. Any doctor performing an illegal abortion could face up to ten years in jail and lose their medical license.
Outrage at abortion laws
Interestingly these states are not the only places to have such laws on abortion, several countries have rules pertaining to them. Some countries say you can only have an abortion if it puts the mother’s life at risk. Some countries also make exceptions if the baby was the product of rape or incest. However, with a few notable exceptions, these are countries that are seen as regressive. The general consensus among more progressive, more liberal countries is that abortion should be the mother’s choice.
It’s a man’s world
The anguish felt by women and sympathetic men alike is twofold. Firstly, it is because women are having rights which many people believe they should have taken away. After all, surely a woman should have the right to choose what happens to her own body. Carrying a baby is a massive responsibility. Childbirth changes a woman’s body. The scars, the stretch marks, not to mention the hormonal changes and the psychological effects. This isn’t just 9 months of upheaval we are talking about. Even if a baby is put up for adoption the effects can last an entire lifetime.
Secondly, and perhaps equally as infuriating, is the decision to make these changes in Alabama was made by a panel consisting entirely of men. Yes, that’s right a decision about women’s bodies and what they do with them was made by a panel consisting solely of people it would never directly effect. And sure there is a separate argument for how abortion affects legitimate fathers who legally have no say. But that is a debate for another time. For now, let’s focus on what the decision means.
Imagine if a couple doesn’t want a child. They used contraception. They did everything in their power to avoid a baby, but accidents happen. The mother is subjected to carrying that baby no matter what under new laws.
Being raped is one of the most horrific things that can happen to a woman. Imagine going through that and finding out that you are pregnant. As a general rule, most rapists don’t worry too much about contraception. In Alabama now if that happens you are forced to carry the spawn of that rapist inside you for nine months.
Then there is the very fact that these rules were put in place by the collaboration of 25 men. The point many women are trying to make is why are men making this decision? Many think this is deplorable. The counter argument is the standard pro-life stance. The unborn baby is a human life too and should be protected as such. This is a bone of contention held by many religious followers. Not many would argue that the unborn baby’s life is more valuable than the mothers. However many believe that life begins when there is a heartbeat. While that debate rages on many will look at this decision affecting women’s rights being made by men and see it as regressive and controlling. A throwback designed to take away women’s rights.