On May 14th, the Alabama Senate passed a bill 25-6 banning 99% of all abortions with the only exception being that if the pregnancy threatens the health of the mother. When the bill hit her desk, Governor Kay Ivey signed it into law on the 15th. People on both sides are having very strong feelings on the subject. No matter which side you are on, Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, the decision could be headed to the Supreme Court with a goal to challenge Roe v. Wade soon.
Alabama is only one of many states who have passed such bills. Eleven states have introduced comparable fetal heartbeat bills in the past year, with five more on the horizon. Four states have already passed similar bills, some of which have not been signed into law yet, but this shows that some Americans way of thinking could be shifting. With medical advancements, new technology, and extensive scientific research, we are seeing more and more evidence that the fetus can feel pain once the brain has formed these nerve sensors in the womb*, the harsh physical, emotional, and psychological toll it takes on the mothers wellbeing and relationships after she chooses to voluntarily terminate the pregnancy**, a huge drop in birthrates nationwide^, and the infertility issues that are on the rise in women who have had multiple surgical abortions^^.
Georgia, who passed a bill that bans abortions after a heartbeat is detected and was signed into law earlier this May has received some backlash from the Hollywood community. With the state being the ‘Hollywood of the South’ several actors, studios, and production companies have come forth to boycott filming in the state, but I am not sure that will change anything. With that community being so robust, there are hundreds and hundreds of others lined up to take their place from across the nation, meaning that this could give way to new talent and fresh ideas instead of the overdone reboots and sequels.
Actress Alyssa Milano came out and called for women to go on a “Sex Strike” until these bills are overturned, but again, I don’t think that will produce the effect or the outcome she is hoping for, and could swing the abortion rates pendulum toward the Pro-Life side. Women who join her in the sex strike, depending how long they abstain, will result in less pregnancies from the Pro-choice side, which in turn could cause a significant drop in abortion rates. It seems counterproductive in proving their point on women’s choice.
The controversial movie ‘’Unplanned’’ debuted in March and was emotional to watch for both sides of the debate. Based on a true story and staring Ashley Bratcher it was filmed in Oklahoma where abortion laws are quite restrictive according to FindLaw^^^. One of the regulations requires that the abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges and meet all structural standards of surgical facilities. The creators of the movie hope to shed light on the controversial topics and spark change. It was also the cause of movie theater boycotts and protest. IMDB reported the limited release film grossed $18 million worldwide in its first eight weeks.
Along with Georgia other states, Kentucky, Ohio, and Mississippi, have passed fetal heartbeat bills banning abortions after the heartbeat is detected. Kentucky’s bill was signed by Governor Matt Bevin would have taken effect immediately but was blocked by a federal judge temporarily. Mississippi governor Phil Bryant has signed the bill banning abortions after the heartbeat detected with no exceptions in March. Ohio’s law, which is not in effect yet, bans abortion once a heartbeat is detected and provides no exceptions for rape or incest.
Also, I don’t think we can deny the study whose results show that in 2018 that U.S. birth rates dropped to a 30-year low. There could be a cause and effect when you look at the rates by states. The Center for Disease Control reported in 2015 that they documented 638,169 abortions from 49 states.^^^^ That report paired with the CDC’s live birthrates study could show a correlation to those states like New York and California, who have some of the least restrictive laws on abortions, had the lowest birth rates and fell well below population replacement levels when you factor in the large population by average of each state. States like Utah with its high Mormon population and Texas were on the highest end of birth rates, and are known to have more strict abortion laws. ***
The history books haven’t been completely re-written, but this decision is on a path to the Supreme Court. The 46-year-old Roe v. Wade decision would only need 5 votes to be overturned. There are currently four Justices who are outspokenly Pro-life with President Trump’s two recent appointments leaving only one vote needed to change the law. One thing is clear, we will be watching closely and heated debates will continue rumbling the social media stage, breakrooms, and in our homes.
*PMC US National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1440624/
**American Pregnancy Association https://americanpregnancy.org/unplanned-pregnancy/abortion-emotional-effects/
***Business Insider https://www.businessinsider.com/cdc-states-with-highest-birth-rates-2014-5