Alabama's controversial new law prompts hundreds of women to share abortion stories
In 1973, the US Supreme Court rejected the notion that a fetus is a person and ruled that the constitutional "right to privacy" protects a woman's choice to have an abortion. However, recently several states have passed draconian laws making it more difficult for women to access abortion. These measures include cumbersome restrictions on abortion providers that force them to shut down, and so-called "heartbeat bills" that outlaw abortions after the six week mark; at that point, the embryo is the size of a pomegranate seed and many women do not even know they are pregnant yet.
Following passage of Georgia's "heartbeat bill", late night talk show host Busy Philipps shared her emotional story about getting an abortion at age 15. "No bill that criminalizes abortion will stop anyone from making this incredibly personal choice, but these laws will put more women at risk," she said. "Every woman deserves compassion and care, not judgment and interference when it comes to their own bodies... Women and their doctors are in the best position to make informed decisions about what is best for them. Nobody else, nobody."
Watch actress Busy Philipps speak out against Georgia's six-week abortion ban here:
"One in four women will have an abortion before age 45," Philipps continued. "That statistic sometimes surprises people, and maybe you’re sitting there thinking, ‘I don’t know a woman who would have an abortion.’” “Well, you know me,” she continued. “I had an abortion when I was 15 years old and I’m telling you this because I’m genuinely really scared for women and girls all over the country."
Earlier today, the Republican governor of Alabama signed the most restrictive abortion law in United State history. House Bill 314, the 'Human Life Protection Act,' makes it a class A felony for a doctor to perform an abortion in the state, punishable by 10 to 99 years in prison. Women are allowed to terminate their pregnancy when their health is at serious risk, but there are no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. While the governor is female, the 25 state senators who voted for the bill were all white men.
The new Alabama law sparked a firestorm of outrage from abortion rights supporters, including Busy Philipps. "1 in 4 women have had an abortion," she tweeted. "Many people think they don't know someone who has, but #youknowme. So let's do this: if you are also the 1 in 4, let's share it and start to end the shame. Use #youknowme and share your truth."
The hashtag #youknowme started trending, as hundreds of women opened up about their decision to have an abortion. Their reasons were various and often heartbreaking.
Meanwhile, other women asserted that they don't have to explain to the world why they got an abortion. They had the right to do so. In addition, some people pointed out that Medicaid pays for Viagra, and if men could get pregnant, abortion laws might not be so strict.
The Alabama law is set to take effect in six months, but is expected to face several legal battles, which could go all the way to the US Supreme Court to challenge Roe v. Wade.