Only four women are part of the Alabama senate. Only two cast their vote in the abortion ban.
On Tuesday, twenty-five men voted to ban abortion entirely in the state of Alabama — except if the mother’s health was in critical danger. Only two female state senators had a vote in the abortion ban. Two.
Unsurprisingly, the 25 men who voted to restrict a woman’s right to her own bodily autonomy are white and Republican. None of these men have carried a child, but each one of them voted to make abortion a crime at any stage of pregnancy.
The law, if Governor Kay Ivey signs it into effect (and it’s likely she will side with the rest of her Republican party), will disproportionately affect black and poor women, because they are more likely to seek abortions but less likely to have the funds and transportation resources to obtain one out-of-state.
During the debate in Alabama’s state senate, Senator Clyde Chambliss said the law wouldn’t affect women until they are “known to be pregnant.” Senator Linda Coleman-Madison, one of the two women who voted against the ban, asked him to expand on what “known to be pregnant” means. When he failed to do so, she called him right out.
“I guess that’s a typical male answer,” she said. “You don’t know what you don’t know because you’ve never been pregnant. And herein is the problem: You can’t get pregnant. You don’t know what it’s like to be pregnant.”
Yes, that’s undoubtedly the major problem here: cis, white men who will never, ever know what it’s like to have a woman’s reproductive system are banning people with uteruses from making their own decisions about their uteruses. It’s barbaric, it’s irresponsible in a million ways, and it proves the entire abortion “debate” isn’t about when life begins — it’s about making sure women are treated unequally and inhumanely in the eyes of the law.
The Republican party won’t regulate guns in order to prevent the loss of human lives — not even children’s lives — yet they purport themselves as “champions” of embryos. They are seizing our reproductive freedom, one state at a time.
In addition to banning abortion access throughout the entire state, Alabama would also be able to punish doctors who perform abortions on patients — even in cases of rape and incest — with a prison sentence of up to 99 years.
Which is a more severe punishment than rapists receive in Alabama. Oh, and if you’re wondering: no, there isn’t any consequence for a man who impregnates a woman who has no desire to carry a fetus to term. Other than an obligation to pay child support — in some cases.
In response to the bill, Alabama state senator Vivian Davis Figures filed an amendment to the bill that would make it a felony for a man to have a vasectomy. Predictably, it failed. Though it’s a shame female lawmakers who are drastically outnumbered have to resort to a tit-for-tat, “put yourself in our shoes for once” tactics to try to change misogynistic laws.
Depressingly, Figures says she’s become accustomed to the lack of women represented in the legislature and the radical decisions men make in regard to women’s bodies. “It’s more disappointment,” she tells Yahoo! News. “You feel disappointed that you’re living in 2019 and you’re dealing this.”