Alabama doctor vows to continue performing abortions after controversial ban takes effect
The day before Alabama executed a murderer by lethal injection, the state's governor declared "every life is precious" and signed a draconian abortion ban. The unconstitutional measure punishes doctors who perform an abortion - a perfectly legal procedure for 46 years - with up to 99 years in prison. An exception is made if the mother's health is at serious risk, but not in cases of rape or incest. Afterward, the legislators rejected a law to provide health care for the women denied abortions and forced to have unwanted pregnancies.
The most restrictive abortion bill in American history was passed by 25 male Republican state senators, then signed into law by the 73-year-old female Republican governor, Kay Ivey. "This legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God," Ivey said in a statement. Then she admitted the law was probably unenforceable and specifically designed to be legally challenged, in hope it leads to the Supreme Court revisiting Roe v. Wade.
In the landmark 1973 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that an embryo/fetus is not a person and the US Constitution's "right to privacy" protects a woman's choice to get an abortion. As a result, states may not place an "undue burden" on women seeking abortion. But what's exactly what some states are doing, now that President Donald Trump's two Supreme Court Justice picks (one of them stolen from President Barack Obama) tilted the Supreme Court to the right.
Last week, Georgia banned abortions past the six week mark, when the embryo is about the size of a sweet pea. Today, Missouri banned abortions past the eight week mark, when the embryo is about as big as a raspberry. In the wake of these controversial laws, several people have voiced outrage on social media - and expressed sympathy for the women in those states poised to face a heartbreaking "undue burden."
Watch Busy Philipp's emotional story about getting an abortion at 15
However, there's a glimmer of hope for women in Alabama, a state ranked 50th in education and 45th in health care by US News and World Report. In a CNN op-ed, Dr. Yashica Robinson, the medical director of the Alabama Women's Center for Reproductive Alternatives, said she "will not change my daily routine," even after the new law takes effect. "Just as I have for the last 15 years of my medical career, I will continue to deliver babies, give prenatal care — and provide abortions,” Robinson wrote.
“I am appalled that I could get a more severe penalty (up to 99 years in prison) for providing safe abortion care than someone who commits second-degree rape," she continued. "And I hate that I am being placed in the position of reassuring my patients that abortion is still legal today - and for the foreseeable future - despite the actions of politicians in Birmingham."
Following the controversial ban, many OB-GYNs will probably leave Alabama to practice in other states. However, Robinson refuses to leave women with inadequate health care. "I am frightened for Alabamians because, should this law ever go into effect, doctors like me will leave Alabama rather than stay and practice substandard medicine," Robinson wrote. "And until I am told otherwise, I will continue to provide the best reproductive healthcare I can."
"I urge the politicians in Alabama, and those around the country, please stop trying to make it harder for people to access health care," she concluded.