You know that incendiary abortion bill in Alabama that was just signed into law by the state’s governor, Kay Ivey? The one that effectively bans abortions in the entire state (except for when the woman’s life is at risk, but not when she’s been raped or a survivor of incest or there’s a severe fetal abnormality), and makes performing the procedure a felony for doctors? Yeah, that one. Well, it’s passing became possible on Tuesday when it was approved exclusively by white men in the Alabama Senate. Yep, twenty-five men who have never and will never get pregnant.
Only three women got to vote on the bill. Think about what that means for a sec, and then watch Bobby Singleton, the Democratic minority leader—through tears—put it into words:
What you just said to my little girl is that it’s okay for a man to rape you and you got to have his baby if you get pregnant.
It makes my head spin.
It’s a relatively common refrain in the pro-choice movement: Why should male politicians get to legislate my body? And it’s true. Men are often the arbiters of decisions about women’s health and reproduction. How can we forget that on Trump’s third day in office—his *third day* in the Oval Office—he signed the Global Gag rule, which basically prevents any foreign organizations that are receiving aid from the U.S. to provide information (let alone services) for legal abortions, even if they fund it themselves.
BTW, check out who Trump was surrounded by when he signed the executive order that significantly undermined women’s reproductive health rights.
It matters who is in the room when these decisions are made because men don’t know what it’s like to be a woman. And it shows! Abortion is a polarizing issue, but the least we can expect from the people at the table making the decisions about our collective reproductive futures is that they show a semblance of understanding—let alone sympathy—for the circumstances under which women might need to end a pregnancy. This morning, state Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R) insisted that the law wouldn’t affect women until they “are known” to be pregnant, and here’s how he backed up his assertion:
I’m not trained medically so I don’t know the proper medical terminology and timelines. But from what I’ve read, what I’ve been told, there’s some period of time before you can know a woman is pregnant.
Huh? And as I mentioned earlier, there are no exceptions for rape in this bill. Here’s how Chambliss suggests we deal with sexual violence:
What I hope is, if we pass this bill, that all young ladies would be educated by their parents, their guardians that should a situation like this occur, you need to go get help—you need to do it immediately.
Unclear what he means by “help” in this scenario, since he definitely doesn’t mean abortion if a pregnancy occurs.
To say that what’s happening in our country right now is terrifying is an understatement. Women’s access to reproductive health care is under attack, and it’s officially time to freak out. Six states have already passed bills to ban abortion after a heartbeat is detected. Some of these laws will turn women who get abortions into criminals. The ultimate goal of the anti-choice movement is to get these cases in front of the now super-conservative Supreme Court, with the hopes that they’ll eventually overturn Roe v. Wade.
What happened in Alabama today is just another glaring example of why we need more women in the room.