Recently, there has been a surge of abortion bans across several states in the US. States that have passed these bans include Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, and Utah. Republican lawmakers have recently passed abortion bans in several states with the intent of going up to the Supreme Court and overturning Roe v. Wade. The 1973 landmark ruling of Roe v. Wade legalized abortions across all fifty states but these so-called heartbeat bills have been created to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. This has sparked nationwide protests and caused increasing tension in the Roe. v. Wade debate.
Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed an abortion law on May 7. This law bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected from as early as six weeks when most women do not even know that they are pregnant. There is an exception for rape or incest, but only when the woman has filed a police report first or if the woman’s health is in danger. The law also allows a woman to be subject to prosecution if she seeks an abortion in a different state or has a miscarriage. The concern is that the symptoms of a miscarriage are similar to those of an induced abortion. As a result, a woman who has a miscarriage can be subject to prosecution.
This law also affects Hollywood as many production companies shoot in Georgia to take advantage of the state’s tax incentives. As a response to this new law, production companies of movies such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and tv shows such as Stranger Things have stated that they would have to stop working there if the law goes into effect. As a result of this law, Georgia’s economy will be negatively impacted if production companies decide to stop working there.
The most restrictive abortion ban in the history of the United States came from Alabama on May 15 when Republican Governor Kay Ivey signed it into law. The six-week abortion ban passed thanks to the votes of twenty-five white Republican men. The law does not make exceptions for rape or incest and allows abortions only when the mother’s health is in danger. The punishment of performing an abortion can be from 10 to 99 years or life in prison. Although the new law was expected to take into effect in the next few months, lawsuits from Planned Parenthood and other organizations can delay the law from going into effect sooner.
Governor Ivey has stated that the new abortion ban “stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious & that every life is a sacred gift from God.” Yet, Ivey was preparing to oversee the execution of a criminal who was sentenced to life in prison twenty years ago for the murder of four people. Some have come to view this as an act of hypocrisy.
These bills from Georgia and Alabama are only a couple of examples as many other states have also passed similar bills. These bills, however, have led to protests becoming prevalent across the nation. Pro-choice advocates argue that these bans are not about protecting human rights, but about controlling women.
On May 21, thousands of women protested across the US holding up signs that said, “Abortion is healthcare. Abortion is a right.” Across many cities, women voiced their rights that their bodies are not properties of the state. Many viewed these bans as going backward in history. Also, some women even dressed up as handmaids from the Hulu original The Handmaid’s Tale about women who have no basic rights and are subject to a hierarchical regime.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), abortion rates from all ages of women have decreased to an all-time historic low. Part of the reason for this is because women have gained better access to contraceptives.
Emory University student Justin Kim has said, “I think that it’s somewhat ridiculous that the legislation to ban abortions was primarily decided by males. The idea that males can decide what females can and cannot do with their bodies is a behavior that must stop.”
He further added, “You don’t see females restricting the rights of men to get vasectomies. Yet, you see males not allowing women to get abortions and banning institutions such as Planned Parenthood. The most ironic thing is that most of these Republicans support the rights of the baby, but they do everything in their power to strip resources that would help the baby after he or she is born.”
As these bans are sweeping through the US, protestors are vowing to fight back for the rights of women to make their own decisions about their bodies.
Jennie Kim, Grade 11
Immaculate Heart High School