Roe V. Wade was first passed on January 22nd 1973, marking a landmark in the Women’s Rights Movement which ensured a woman’s right to an abortion was her choice and her choice alone. Now in May of 2019, Alabama has passed the strictest law in the nation, banning abortion in all instances including rape and incest with a 25-to-6 vote. The only exception is when there is an imminent threat to the mother’s life (CNN). There was an attempt by democratic representatives to allow an exemption for victims of sexual assault however, this failed 21-11 (CNN). This law includes a penalty of up to 99 years in prison for any physician who performs an abortion (Washington Post). This is the same sentence for sexual assault in the first degree in the state of Alabama.
According to CNN, the governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, signed the bill, stating that it “stands as a powerful testament to Alabamian’s deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.” This faced some backlash, specifically from Staci Fox, the president of Planned Parenthood Southeast, who plans to sue the state of Alabama, according to The Washington Post. She comments that, “We will see Governor Ivey in court. In the meantime, abortion is still safe, legal, and available in the state of Alabama and we plan to keep it that way.” Contrastingly, the bill’s sponsor, Republican representative Terri Collins, views the new law as “protecting the lives of the unborn” (Washington Post). Collins hopes this bill will end up in the Supreme Court, resulting in the overturn of the court’s decision of Roe V. Wade. Ramapo junior Sarah Darwish believes that this law “is not about being pro-life or pro-choice it’s about the loss of a woman’s human rights.” The debate between pro-life and pro-choice has been going on for generations. However, many believe this law is a violation of human rights, criticizing and fearing its potential to become federal legislation.
Many celebrities and even Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg have previously made their view on abortion very clear, according to The New York Times. Years ago, Ginsburg responded to questions regarding abortion by saying, “the decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. When the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a full adult human responsible for her own choices” (New York Times). It can be concluded from statements such as this that Ginsburg is vehemently against the anti-abortion bill from Alabama.
Furthermore, many stars including Lady Gaga and Halsey have taken to social media to use their platform to denounce this law. Lady Gaga wrote on Twitter that “it is an outrage to ban abortion in Alabama period […] this is a travesty.” Following this, Halsey also spoke out on Twitter, expressing anger at the law: “watching the demise of our reproductive rights sends a sickening rage through my core. Autonomy is the basis of our humanity. The ability to feel and the right to choose.” Julia Abata, a junior at Ramapo High School, takes a similar stance commenting that “It’s not about the child itself. It’s about control over women’s’ bodies.” States such as Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, Utah, and Arkansas have all followed Alabama’s lead and imposed their own abortion bans. The American people can only wait and watch for a cycle of bans that could be stopped by the Supreme Court, or carried on.
Featured Image: Protest about Alabama’s Anti-Abortion Law Photo (Courtesy of CNN)
By: Eden Osiason, Assistant Editor