The Alabama Abortion Law and the Justification of Control
It is not a good time to be a woman in America- and not just in regards to abortion. Some people have made careers trying to convince us otherwise, and if you look at the situation from a different perspective, I suppose that it is. Imagine, if you will, that groping women, date rape, street harassment, and killing women for rejecting you is acceptable. By that yardstick, it’s a fantastic time to be a woman in America.
It is not a good time to be a woman in America
The male “allies” who pop up in our comment sections every time we say something remotely related to gender-based discrimination or violence aren’t the ones who are addressing this. It’s women. Women who are marching, protesting, legislating, and holding men accountable. Women are solving the problems women face. But some women are complicit in the marginalization and dehumanization of other women.
Take, for example, the law regarding abortion in Alabama. Banning abortion even in the case of rape or incest. Restricting abortion to the barest of the bare minimum. Make no mistake, this law is going to kill women. Every year, every month, every week, women will die because of unsafe abortions. It’s easy to blame men for this, and men do share a great portion of the blame. But we all saw this coming. Since the dawn of civilization, since the division of labor, there has been a sense of entitlement over womens’ bodies: by men. Since when did women start sharing that sense of entitlement over other women’s bodies?
There’s nothing wrong with being pro-life
There’s nothing wrong with being pro-life. I respect your choice- as should everyone- to be pro-life. If you believe abortion is morally wrong, I support your choice to the fullest extent to not get an abortion. Your privately held beliefs, are just that- your privately held beliefs. If you believe abortion is wrong in any case, or that iced coffee is bad, or that the US should pursue a policy of interventionism, whether I disagree with you or not, I respect your right to your own beliefs. It’s when you start stealing iced coffee from Starbucks so no one else can have it, and break into the Department of State and impersonate the Secretary of State to change foreign policy, and attempt to wrest bodily autonomy from women, that I start having a problem.
If there’s a will, there’s a way
If there’s a will, there’s a way. This old adage applies in the case of restricting abortion. There are no shortage of justifications, each weaker than the last. Some people like to insist that since you got yourself into the situation- and, as there are no recorded cases of parthenogenesis in humans, it’s biologically impossible to get yourself into pregnancy- you should live with the consequences. When I was 14 years old, I sliced my thumb on a mandolin because I wasn’t using the safety guard. The doctor at the emergency room didn’t refuse to treat me because I had gotten myself in the situation. He treated my thumb- that is, he provided healthcare as per his job requirement.
Another favorite is that it’s not your body that we’re talking about. Pregnant women are, actually, not incubators or hosts. They are people with autonomy over their own body. And what they choose to do with their body: whether it’s getting a tattoo or an abortion, is not your business. Abortion is not a moral issue up for debate. Abortion is healthcare, and a human right.
This law will disproportionately affect women of color. Already, in the South Asian community, abortion is beyond taboo. Many households forbid the use of the word. Getting an abortion is unthinkable. For the south asian women who want to get an abortion, behind the backs of their family, this decision is hard enough. What happens when it is all nothing short of a ban is imposed in your home state, and lawmakers condemn you as immoral and a would-be murderer?
Alabama is now a firmly pro-life state. Terms and conditions may apply.
Find more here: https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/23/us/abortion-restrictions-georgia-alabama/index.html