Lawmakers around the county are on a crusade to make abortion illegal. Last week Alabama passed a bill making abortion illegal after a fetal heartbeat is detectable. The law gives no exceptions to women that become pregnant through rape or incest. Through the law, Alabama proves to the country that they value a clump of cells over women.
Last week Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed an extremely controversial bill which made abortion illegal for women after a fetal heartbeat is detected. The law also penalizes doctors with prison sentences of up to 99 years if they perform abortions.
The law included no exclusions for victims of rape or incest. Lawmakers in Alabama effectively made women become property and commodities.
Therefore, the state violates the woman a second time by forcing her to carry a pregnancy that resulted from violence.
There are so many parts of this law that are infuriating and horrific. First, the United States is a country that separates church policies from secular laws.
With this in mind, Alabama passed a law that is deeply rooted in the lawmakers profoundly rooted belief that God makes no mistakes and ALL life is precious.
However, there are millions of people that are not religious at all. For millions of women, like me, that are atheist or classify themselves as ‘none’ these laws infringe on our freedom from religion.
Additionally, we are forced to carry babies we either do not want, cannot afford, or were created from violent crimes because influential Christians believe all “life” is a gift from God.
In a country that is supposed to value freedom of choice and religion, Alabama’s law is forcing millions to live by Christian rules that have no place in our secular society.
Second, the law in Alabama is so restrictive that women are no longer in control of any aspect of their bodies. With abortion only permitted before six weeks of pregnancy, the law effectively makes all abortions illegal.
A fetal heartbeat is detectable around 5 to 6 weeks gestation. Many women have no idea they are pregnant that soon. Most women find out they are pregnant after they are six weeks pregnant.
The first four weeks of pregnancy are considered part of a woman’s regular cycle. Therefore, women are not “late” until the first day of their missed period.
However, many women have cycles that vary from 28-35 days. Home pregnancy tests generally are not reliable until a woman is at least five days late or more.
For many women, this means that they don’t find out they are pregnant until we are six-8 weeks pregnant.
Under Alabama law, a woman that finds out she’s pregnant at 8-weeks would be forced to continue the pregnancy whether she wanted to or not.
Third, lawmakers argue that a fetus is a life, but a 6-week embryo has no viability outside of the woman’s body.
Essentially the embryo is a parasite living off the host of the woman. If the woman were to deliver during this period, the embryo dies resulting in a miscarriage. The Mayo Clinic estimates that up to 20% of all pregnancies result in miscarriage.
A fetus that cannot survive outside the human body is not “life.” Sure, the embryo is the start of potential life. However, Miscarriage frequently occurs in women.
Finally, the law’s most controversial component is that victim’s of incest and rape are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies. This portion of the bill is offensive and cruel to victims of these crimes.
Victims of rape do not consent to sex. They are held down, coerced, and manipulated into unwanted sexual activity. Sometimes women are drugged and have no memory of the crime. Either way, the pregnancy resulted from non-consensual sex.
If a father rapes his 11-year-old daughter, Alabama will force the girl to become a mother. No 11-year-old is capable of parenting a child.
Therefore the infant becomes the responsibility of the girl’s family. Or the girl gives the baby up for adoption which is traumatizes the baby and the mother.
Alabama is one of the worst states in the country for public health services, health care, and education.
A ranking completed by U.S. News placed Alabama as the 2nd worst state in the country for people to live based upon their poor education, public health, economy, and social services, to name a few.
Given that Alabama cares so little about education, public health, and social services, the law forcing women to carry pregnancies is hypocritical.
If the state refuses to provide adequate funding for necessities like education, how do they expect to handle a mass influx of babies into their system?
The law passed in Alabama proves that the fully developed lives of women are less important than the fetus. Lawmakers are telling rape victims that their embryo is more important than the vicious crime committed against them.
Victims of rape suffer lasting mental and emotional trauma, and forcing a woman to continue a pregnancy from an abuse adds another layer of trauma.
Lawmakers in Alabama should be ashamed of themselves for approving such an atrocious and cruel law. Adding insult to injury, a woman signed the bill into effect.
The good news is that the law is hugely unpopular. In fact, the law is likely never to go into effect.
The ACLU is preparing to file a lawsuit against the state for passing the law. With an active legal case, a federal judge will decide if the law is constitutional. Previous laws like the Alabama law have been struck down in court multiple times.
Even though the law may never go into effect, Alabama made their voice loud and clear.
Alabama values a clump of cells more than the life of a woman. Women that are victims of crimes are less important than a fetus that has no viability outside of the body. The state put their faith before the rights of all women that live there.
Women’s bodies are not the property of the government. Forcing a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy is cruel and inhumane.
Alabama lawmakers should be ashamed of themselves.
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis on The Non-Sequitur Channel. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.
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