Alabama lawmakers say the abortion ban is about protecting kids, but that seems to stop once babies are out of the womb
Yesterday, lawmakers in Alabama voted to effectively ban abortion across the state. If the governor signs the bill, all abortions will be illegal, including in the cases of rape and incest, unless the life of the mother is seriously at risk. It’s part of a nation-wide push by conservatives to challenge Roe v. Wade and take away women’s rights – all under the guise of being concerned about precious unborn babies.
But it begs the question: how are the actual living, feeling, conscious children of Alabama doing? And how are their moms faring? Jezebel decided to collect some statistics about what life is like for families in Alabama right now, and how many huge problems the state faces that it could be dealing with instead of spending time and resources robbing women of their bodily autonomy and safe healthcare options.
First and foremost, child poverty levels in Alabama are rising, and currently 26.5% of children in the state live below poverty lines. Over 30 percent of kids under five are impoverished, and 22.5 percent of kids face food insecurity, not having reliable access to enough nutritious food. All in all, Alabama is sixth in the nation for having impoverished kids – 250,000 children right now in the state are destitute.
Secondly, access to medical care is terrible in Alabama. Only half the state’s counties even have obstetricians, and over a dozen hospitals have shuttered in recent years because so many people in the state don’t have health insurance and can’t pay their medical bills. Many women have to drive 50 to 100 miles just to have their babies – and it’s no surprise that Alabama has the second-highest infant mortality rate in the country.
Next, raising a kid in Alabama is expensive and difficult. Childcare for two kids costs 28 percent more than the average rent. And single moms spend 29 percent of their entire income on childcare costs.
And no, Alabama doesn’t have any family leave laws on their books. But they are super busy taking away women’s rights and hurting their state’s children.
How will the abortion ban affect these numbers? One study can give us a clue. Earlier this year, the Turnaway study found that women who don’t have access to abortion aren’t the only ones who lose opportunities down the road. The children and future children of women who can’t access abortion when they wish suffer in multiple ways. They were significantly more likely to live in poverty and they were significantly more likely to not have life’s essentials, like food and shelter. They were also less likely to bond with their mothers in the days and months after birth.
And that’s on top of abortion bans being deadly for women. Because women still seek abortions even if they’re illegal, and when they’re illegal, they’re also less safe (and women won’t go to the hospital to report dangerous complications, either. This is not to mention that women seeking abortions can now be jailed, taking them away from any kids they might have, and stopping them from providing for their families.
In other words: this ban on abortion will only make Alabama’s issues surrounding poverty, education, and healthcare worse, and there will only be more kids around who need help.