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The government has waged a war on women, and should any of these bans actually go into effect; it’s more than likely that someone you know will be affected.
Lawmakers in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Utah have passed bills that could potentially outlaw abortion while similar measures are pending in other states. Today, the Missouri House approved an abortion bill that would ban abortions after a woman is only eight weeks along. Remember: most women don’t normally find out they are even expecting until between weeks four to seven! Besides Missouri; Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio are also trying to enforce the ban that is sparking national debate.
If it does pass in Missouri, it would make The Show-Me State one of the most restrictive in the country for abortions. The bill does include exceptions for medical emergencies, but rape and incest are exempt. Should a woman choose to abort after the eighth week, she would not be prosecuted; but the doctor who performed the procedure could face up to 15 years in prison!
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill on Wednesday, that outlaws almost all abortions unless the pregnancy is a risk to the mother. The doctor who performs one illegally could face 99 years in prison. Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp also signed a “heartbeat” bill that prohibits abortions after a heartbeat is detected. The exceptions are cases of rape, incest or medical emergencies. Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio have also approved abortion bans once a heartbeat can be detected.
Think this is insane? Democratic Rep. Sarah Unsicker put it best, “Laundry, bleach, acid bitter, concoction, knitting needles, bicycle spokes, ballpoint pens, jumping from the top of the stairs or the roof, these are ways that women around the world who don’t have access to legal abortions, perform their own.” This is exactly why it could affect you; just because abortions will be harder to access, doesn’t mean women will stop having them. The bans would punish the most vulnerable and the most marginalized of women: low-income women of color. Women will literally be risking their lives to have these procedures performed. Not to mention, countries with total or partial bans have an abortion rate of 37 in every 1,000 people, while countries with no restrictions at all are 34 in every 1,000.
Even conservatives who say the bans will encourage abstinence aren’t factoring in cases of rape. One in every five women in the U.S. will be raped at some point in their lives. One in four girls will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old, and 30% of women are between just 11 and 17 years of age at the time of their first completed rape. Also, 20 to 25% of college women are victims of forced sex during their time in college; and more than 90% of these do not report the assault.
Rape is the most under-reported crime, with 63% of rapes going unreported to police. These women fail to report what has happened to them out of fear they may not be believed, the knowledge that their attacker will likely not be punished, and many just out of shame. These statistics don’t see a race, religion, or age. In 2017, there were 165.92 million women in the U.S. The chances of you knowing a woman who falls victim to one of these statistics, is more than likely. She is your sister, your daughter, your mother, your best friend, your coworker and the little girl down the street. The chances of this abortion ban affecting her are HIGH if these conservative states are able to successfully overturn Roe v Wade.
So now you’re probably wondering: what can YOU do to help? Well for starters, you can educate yourself. Stay informed and inform others around you, ignorance is not bliss. Secondly, don’t judge. This is a sensitive subject so being understanding and compassionate whether you agree or not, will facilitate discussion and help people understand WHY what a woman does with her body, is HER choice. And third, if you are a man and you think it’s okay to tell a woman what to do with her body, take your right hand, and SLAP YOURSELF ACROSS THE FACE. For more info on how you can become an ally in the fight, read this informative and well-written article by The Cut.