Alabama Should not Restrict the Reproductive Rights of Women

Kenny Davis and Louisa Ellison

As of May 5th, 2019, women’s reproductive rights in the state of Alabama are in jeopardy.=

One of the most restrictive bills on women’s reproductive rights the country has ever seen was officially signed into law by the state’s governor, threatening thousands of women’s reproductive rights. According to the law, any doctor that performs an abortion procedure at any stage in pregnancy would be criminally charged and could face up to 99 years in prison. Although the bill states that mothers will in no way be prosecuted and that exceptions will be made if a woman’s life is in danger, cases of rape and incest are not exceptions.

Alabama’s new law seems to have reinvigorated many hoping to overturn the long held decision of Roe vs. Wade. According to the New York Times, nine states have already enacted legislation banning abortion after 6 weeks, when most women would not even know they were pregnant, including Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio. Georgia also bans abortion after 6 weeks, but makes exceptions for rape and incest. This would severely curb women’s access to an abortion. Abortion is a relatively common procedure that is a vital part of the American healthcare system – according to Planned Parenthood, one in four women will get an abortion.

A woman’s personal decision to have an abortion should not be made according to someone else’s morals, nor should it be a decision made exclusively by men. Whether or not an individual views abortion as a viable option for their own pregnancy remains their own difficult and complex decision. To impose those judgements upon another individual with a unique set of circumstances and medical conditions is frankly, insensitive and unreasonable, especially when those judgements are made by men who will never experience a pregnancy.

Apart from its direct infringement upon personal reproductive rights, the Alabama abortion law wrongly blurs the line regarding the separation of church and state. According to the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”, Jefferson later wrote about the separation between Church and State. The United States of America is a diverse melting pot of religions and ideologies. Many religions claim that abortion is immoral and attempt to pass laws prohibiting it. However, it is not up to a single religion to pass laws concerning women’s healthcare and reproductive rights.

Politicians who arrogantly assume the power to diagnose and prioritize certain medical conditions over others do not deserve to represent their constituents. Only a trained, experienced medical professional has the right to determine which medical conditions designate an abortion as a necessary procedure. Lawmakers who enable themselves to make medical decisions for others could mark a dangerous era of political interference within professional medecine, which is an unacceptable notion.

Roe vs. Wade has been enacted for 46 years, and now is not the time to regress. Although women’s reproductive rights are being targeted like never before, it is now the job of citizens to quickly and efficiently disrupt these patterns of corruption before it is too late.