The abortion bans happening all over the nation have quickly become a topic of heated debate and contention. Most people have an opinion on these bans, and although everyone is affected by this, those who can get pregnant are most directly affected. As one of those people, I'm here to tell you what these bans mean for me, for you, and for our nation.
I'd like to start by clarifying and acknowledging that a lot of these bans are a ploy to have them appealed in the circuit courts and taken all the way to the Supreme Court in the hopes of getting Roe vs. Wade overturned and making abortion either extremely difficult to obtain or illegal. Many conservatives think that this strategy will work and that now is the time to do it since the swing vote on the Supreme Court was replaced by Republican Brett Kavanaugh who many think will be the needed vote to overturn the previous Supreme Court Decision. If you're interested in learning more about this tactic I suggest listening to the New York Times' "The Daily Podcast's" interview with the white man behind it all.
That being said, getting these bills through State Congress, regardless of whether or not they will be signed into law, is still a huge statement. Although I cannot speak for all women, everyone with a uterus, and everyone this bill affects I can say what the passing of these laws said to me; and the message I received from these actions. Hopefully, after reading my thoughts, those who aren't directly affected by these bills can begin to understand the gravity of these actions and why these bills are so scary to so many across this nation and across the world.
Firstly, this ban says to me whose lives this nation prioritizes. The lives of countless African American men and women have been taken by police officers and other "do-gooders" and the court systems ruled that their lives weren't worth enough to punish their killers.
Immigrants and refugees aren't granted the same "human" status as zygotes and cells are and are instead deemed "illegal aliens," separating them from the human race entirely. There is no sweep of legislation fighting to save the lives of the kids getting assaulted, or even dying at the border. They are children. They are people. However, the term "pro-life" seems to only apply to the "life" of a group of cells and ignores those dying because of the death penalty, police brutality, our crooked immigration system, and unethical gun laws which lead to mass shootings.
Secondly, abortion laws have a deep-rooted history. That history is that the anti-abortion laws have always been enforced when it came to cis-het white women's babies. However, before Roe vs. Wade most African American cases of abortion were over-looked as part of a larger effort to make the white race the dominant one. The implications of this ban reach far beyond just the right to choose and are woven into every aspect of society such as this example of further oppressing marginalized groups.
Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio's "fetal heartbeat law" and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp's similar measure show where their state's priorities lie. Legislation like this tells sexual assault survivors that they will be penalized harder than their rapist if they get an abortion. According to Rolling Stone "if HB314 is enacted (in Alabama) a first-time offender who is accused of raping say, an intellectually disabled woman or a 13 year-old-girl could potentially serve less prison time than a doctor providing an abortion."
These laws are being perpetuated by the same men that say things like "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that thing down." - Todd Akin (R-MO) and "why shouldn't a man be free to use his superior strength to force himself on a woman? At least the rapist's pursuit of sexual freedom doesn't (in most cases) result in anyone's death" - Lawrence Kockman (R-ME).
Although I am not a sexual assault survivor, as a young woman I am aware of the reality that every 92 seconds, an American (just Americans alone) is sexually assaulted. As someone with a high chance of becoming a statistic, I deserve to feel that the government and judicial system will be on my side. I shouldn't have to worry that at any instant my rights could be taken away and I would have to carry to term, a reminder of an assault and experience a second loss of autonomy.
Once more for the white male legislators in the back: MY BODY, MY CHOICE.
Those who can get pregnant are watching as their constitutional rights are being taken out from under them. The world is watching as the United States prioritizes an anti-choice agenda over the lives of sexual assault survivors, immigrants, African Americans, women and those who can get pregnant, and all marginalized groups who do not get the same voice allotted to white men by this current system.
I am not mad, I'm scared — if you're smart, you should be too.