A seismic shift in reproductive rights has occurred, undermining the principle of Roe v. Wade, and leaving many individuals concerned for the future of bodily autonomy. On May 15, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed the nation's most restrictive abortion ban into law, the consequences for which are potentially devastating to say the least. In fact, these tweets about Alabama's abortion law and other states' anti-choice legislation highlight just how serious it is, and how much we need to be paying attention.
For those who aren't familiar, this week, HB314, "The Human Life Protection Act," was signed into law in the state of Alabama. According to CBS News, it's the "most restrictive abortion measure passed in the United States since Roe v. Wade," as it bans nearly all abortions except for when necessary to "avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child's mother" or if the fetus "has a lethal anomaly."
Even more strikingly, Alabama's new law would actually criminalize abortion; according to CNN, those who perform abortions could be charged with a Class A Felony, punishable by 99 years in prison. The Washington Post clarified that, despite popular misconceptions, women who have sought abortions cannot be incriminated for them, rather, the law moves to actually charge those who conduct the procedure (doctors or other medical professionals) instead.
The situation has caused a predictable and understandable uproar on social media, as countless people from around the country and world share the most compelling reasons why we need to rethink the legitimacy — and the claims being made — as to why this is a moral and ethical good for our country, but not individuals as a whole.
Here are some of the best.
"Your Silence Will Not Save You"
Director Ava DuVernay had a message for all those who are compliant or at minimum not speaking out about the potentially dangerous infringement upon reproductive health rights and autonomy that this legislation could easily snowball into.
"It's Alabama and abortion today. It's you and your rights tomorrow," she replied to CNN's announcement that the bill was passed. "Your silence will not save you. So speak up."
Let's Make Vasectomies Mandatory Instead
Singer and actress Evan Rachel Wood suggests that instead of criminalizing and banning abortion, we instead make a change at the root of the issue, and mandate that vasectomies must be given to all men past puberty. After all, it is reversible.
Oh, wait, that wouldn't work? She suggests with some reverse psychology: "A hard no? Why? Cause it's your body and we don't get to make that choice for you? Ooooohhh!!!"
The Legislation Was Voted Into Law By White Men
Educator, author and activist Simran Jeet Singh posted a collection of all the photos of the senators who voted on the bill, asking followers: "Notice any similarities?"
Every single individual is, as it appears, a White/Caucasian male, which is fascinating in that there was not one woman representing those the bill would actually impact, let alone anyone from the LGBTQ+ community, minorities or any other marginalized groups. And out of the six individuals who opposed it, all of them were people of color or women. However, it's important to note that it was a woman who signed the bill into law.
What Constitutes A "Serious Health Risk?"
This Twitter user posted a thread in which she explained how dangerous pregnancy and birth in itself can be (especially in a country with high, and increasing, maternal mortality rates, which NPR has called the "worse in the developed world"). Notably, this tends to disproportionately affect women of color, as the U.S. National Library of Health & Medicine reported it as an "alarming racial" disparity in maternal mortality outcomes.
It's Not About "Babies," It's About Policing & Politicizing Women's Bodies
If states like Alabama and otherwise were so deeply concerned about the welfare of children, they would be putting as much money, effort and legislation into everything from sexual education to childcare and education. They aren't, as new reports say that Alabama actually ranks second to last for education in the United States, utilize an abstinence-only sexual education system, and lack sufficient childcare and benefits for women of color.
It seems they are disproportionately concerned with what happens to an unborn fetus, and then not at all concerned with the risks and issues that come with actually giving them a quality of life.
Gun Laws Won't Stop Guns, But Abortion Laws Will Stop Abortion?
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, brought up the excellent point that legislators seem convinced an abortion ban will actually stop abortion (it won't, it will only stop safe, accessible abortion) but at the same time, legislating gun ownership won't possibly stop the ownership and use of guns. Interesting.
Gun violence is on the rise in the United States, The Guardian previously reported, but rates of abortion were at record-lows as more access to birth control and education became readily available over the past decade, TIME reported the CDC shared in 2018.
Let's Ban Abortion, Gay Marriage, Immigration, Muslims, Trans Military Members... But Not Guns
Actor Adam Best put the point even more succinctly, pointing out the wild hypocrisy which is that conservatives are unrelentingly advocating for banning everything from abortions to Muslims and immigration, and yet remain insistent that a ban or restrictions on guns — perhaps one of the actual most dangerous risks to human life in the U.S. — will fail.
Banning Abortion Won't Save Lives
This doctor weighed in on the issue explaining that he understands abortions won't actually "save lives," and in fact, statistically, could put them in further danger.
"It was never about saving lives," he goes onto clarify. "It was always about controlling women's lives."
"They Can Never Ban Abortions, They Can Only Ban SAFE Abortions"
Another Twitter user elaborated on the issue explaining that banning abortions is an illusion, it's an impossibility. They will happen regardless.
However, banning them and criminalizing those who perform them only ensures that safe abortions will disappear. It's a public health crisis, through and through. In countries such as Latin America, where abortion is illegal, The Guttmacher Institute reports that "an estimated 14 million unintended pregnancies occur each year in Latin America and the Caribbean; of these, nearly half (46%) end in abortion," leaving those women to try to utilize unsafe and possibly unsanitary options.
The Backwards Logic Is Astounding
Conservative writer Matt Walsh argued on Twitter that if a child is impregnated due to incest or abuse, allowing an abortion effectively removes the evidence. Therefore, if the child is born, a DNA test can prove the culpability of the alleged abuser, and bring him to justice.
Jessica Valenti, a feminist author and columnist, responded: "Dudes like this are so misogynist they'd rather force a 12-year-old to give birth as 'evidence' of rape rather than just... believing her."
There's no question that this legislation is bringing to light some serious flaws in our judgment, logic and understanding of women's bodies, health and rights. Fortunately, the conversation is thriving, and hopefully, the momentum will keep pushing us toward comprehensive reform.