If you’ve been paying attention to any of the current headlines surrounding women’s reproductive rights, it might be easy to forget that we’re living in 2019 and not the 1950’s. Alabama recently passed a state law that is the most restrictive stance on abortion that has ever been legalized. Under the law, all cases of abortion are banned with exceptions only for life-threatening health risks to the mother and if a fetus has a “lethal anomaly” that would likely result in a stillbirth or death soon after birth. An important note: cases of rape or incest are not exceptions. The ban does everything possible to attempt to criminalize abortion by threatening doctors with a felony charge and jail time if they perform an abortion, as well as defining a fetus as a legal person for “homicide purposes”.
Let us not be mistaken. Alabama’s ban has become a declaration of a war on women’s reproductive rights and other states are taking up arms as well. Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Ohio have all passed “heartbeat laws”, which requires women to undergo an ultrasound to detect if the fetus has a heartbeat and denies access to abortion if one is found. Alabama was the catalyst for pro-life advocates to gain the confidence to be more demanding and vocal with their agenda of banning abortion altogether. And it’s important to remember the presidential (and elected officials!) rhetoric under which Alabama gained the confidence to do so.
If there’s anything we can take away from the clamour of debates and press coverage, it’s that Alabama’s ban is not based on an ideological desire to see new life thrive and be happy in this world. It is an outright swipe at asserting power and control over women and what they do with their bodies. This is not about humanity and mercy for the unborn life. The same politicians that preach these values are the ones who have chosen to not exempt cases of rape and incest, meaning an eleven year old child who became pregnant as a result of incest would be forced the carry the pregancy to full term. Someone please help me figure out where the humanity and mercy is in that situation.
The most important thing we can do right now is be loud and proud about the fact that we won’t give up our rights so easily. Check out these influencers who are taking protesting to the next level.
The Sweet Feminist (@thesweetfeminist)
This babe uses her love of baking to pack some sweet punches on political and social issues. Her cakes and cookies tackle everything from advocating for prison reform to unlearning white feminism. Upon the announcement of the passing of Alabama’s ban, she wrote under one of her goodies, “Abortion access should not depend on geography. If you buy into the idea that Alabama and other states like it are ‘backwards’, you erase all the factors that shape lawmaking there (like: disenfranchisement and voter suppression, racism), as well as the people who are on the ground working towards reproductive justice. If we are willing to abandon the residents of Alabama, or Georgia, or Ohio, we are complicit.”
Drawings by Nicole (@drawingsbynicole)
This Instagram mom and influencer is the founder of The Weird Mom Club and boasts a book by the same name that promotes self-love and incorporating more fun into your life (even for us non-mommas!). Check out her uber-cute custom designed shirts where a portion of the proceeds go to the ACLU or @yellowfund to fund abortion rights efforts in Alabama.
Rupi Kaur (@rupikaur_)
The 24 year old writer went viral back in 2014 with the release of her poetry collection Milk and Honey and has continued to tackle intense topics ever since. Her work sifts through femininity and love in today’s world, as well as spreading awareness of social justice causes through art. In the wake of the news of Alabama’s ban, she posted a short poem that acts as both a rallying cry and a reminder to women of our strength.
These women have chosen to use their art forms to fire back, but protesting for your rights can come in any shape or size. What’s most important is that we are fighting at all. This is not the time for “hopes and prayers” or willfully ignoring news headlines. This is not the time to sigh at another disheartening turn of events and then simply move on with your life. This is the time when women decide that enough is enough. Find your voice and use it, however feels most powerful to you.