On May 14, 2019, the Alabama Republican-majority Senate approved a bill that would practically outlaw abortion in the state of Alabama. It was signed into law one day later by Republican Governor Kay Ivey. This law bans all abortions except, if necessary, to save a mother’s life. Victims of rape and incest will be forced to give birth to an unwanted child.
Last week, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a law making abortion illegal after an embryonic “heartbeat” is found or roughly six weeks after conception. Ohio, Mississippi, and Kentucky have all passed similar bills this year. Missouri GOP-led Senate, immediately after Alabama’s law was signed by the Governor, rushed to pass a bill banning all abortions, except for health of the mother, after 8 weeks of conception. There are more states considering passing restrictive abortion laws.
It is clear that there is a conservative State-by-State war on women and our human right to have control over our own bodies. No woman wants to have an abortion. However, every woman wants to have control over her own body and her healthcare decisions. Women need affordable and safe access to birth control so that they do not have an unwanted pregnancy. Many of these states now banning abortions have also made it harder for women to obtain affordable birth control. They are defunding Planned Parenthood Health Clinics. They have undermined the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive-coverage policy that ensured birth control would be covered with no copay by enacting laws allowing individuals and companies to refuse to provide or cover contraception. They are stopping women from having control over their reproductive healthcare.
The Republican State legislatures making these restrictive abortion laws state that their main purpose is to force the laws before the Supreme Court of the United States so that Roe v Wade can be overturned. They may just get their way. In this year of 2019, 45 years after Roe v Wade, we as women must join together to stand our ground that every person has a right to make reproduction and health decisions about their own body. We cannot lose this basic human right. Recent polls have indicated the support for Roe v Wade is at an all-time high and that more than 69% of Americans oppose overturning the decision.
The National Federation of Democratic Women NFDW have been fighting long and hard for our reproductive healthcare rights and we call on our leaders and legislators to stand up against this assault on women. This is not a political issue, it is an issue of human rights.
Susanna L. French, President
National Federation of Democratic Women