In the news: Alabama abortion debate

Published On: 05/17/2019Categories: Life1059 words5.3 min readViews: 99

I don’t usually write about this sort of stuff.

And by “this sort of stuff” I mean: current news and events, important and relevant topics, causes and movements that matter to so many or topics that polarise people. I generally just talk about myself, not because I am so self-indulgent that I think that is more interesting, but because it’s what I know and my aim is to be open and relatable about day-to-day things. I also don’t feel I am educated enough on many of the topics in the news to have an opinion.

Not only that, but sometimes I just don’t care and I don’t want to get involved. Like so many of you, I am tired. I’m tired of everyone getting offended, I’m tired of so many issues being rammed down my throat as “important”. I’m tired of the outrage and the panel of people on TV shows given their opinions on everything. I am tired of us building people up in the public eye just to tear them down. I’m tired of us ripping people to shreds and not giving them second chances, even though we know deep down that humans make stupid mistakes and we would want a chance to start over if it were us or a loved one in such a position.

I am tired.

I listened to a Shameless podcast with Tully Smyth on my walk this morning and she said something along the lines of: if you have a public platform, then you have a responsibility. You have a responsibility to talk about issues close to your heart and causes that matter. This struck a chord with me, as only yesterday I started reading about the recent legislation changes to the abortion laws in Alabama and felt something in me that flicked on. My blood boiled, my jaw clenched, I felt a spark of something in me that was almost certainly a mixture of outrage, disgust and injustice.

I may only have just over 1200 followers on Instagram, and around 240 people who like my page on Facebook, but they’re public and they’re platforms. And I have realised, even if I am tired, I should be using my platform, however small, for things bigger than myself.

So I am going to talk about the abortion debate, regardless of whether or not I get my point across as articulately as I would like.

So what has happened?

In a nutshell (there are plenty of legit news stories that explain it in much more detail):

  • The state of Alabama in the United States, this week voted to outlaw abortion completely.
  • The law offers no exception for rape or incest victims because, as the Republican lawmaker Clyde Chambliss said, “When God creates the miracle of life inside a woman’s womb, it is not our place as human beings to extinguish that life.” 
  • Doctors who perform the procedure could go to prison for 99 years (which is longer than that of a victim’s rapist).

As a female, the above dot points alone terrify me.

I know that I have a responsibility to be prepared when engaging in consensual sexual activity. Abortion is not there as a means of contraception and I believe the majority women (and men) who are pro-choice, also believe that. I am not saying we should just be having abortions repetitively because we don’t want to use condoms or because we’re ‘child-killers’ or because we want to play God. But we should have the fucking choice to decide the next steps in the safest manner possible, because it is our body that will be growing and potentially raising that child.

It’s about choice.

Whether conception happens by accident or is heaven forbid, against our will, women should have the choice on whether or not they are ready and willing to bring that baby into the world. They should be allowed access to safe healthcare options without fear of retribution, including backlash from the legal system that should be there to protect them.

My blood is boiling everytime I think about this situation.

I wholeheartedly and unequivocally believe that women own 100% of the rights to their own bodies. The fact that a roomful of white men made this decision with next to no room for flexibility, makes me feel angry, sick and violated. They are not the ones who have to live with the consequences of this law; they are not the ones with their freedom of choice being taken away; they are in no position (despite what they may think) to rule that if a woman is raped by her own father, she must be forced to carry that baby to full term and give birth to it.

The fact that I even have to write that sentence down is completely and utterly fucked up.

I feel like we are going backwards.

That the hard work of the women before me is being undone. I am scared for all of the women who will fall victim to this law; for the future children being born into a world where they won’t be wanted or where they will be put up for adoption, adding to the already dire situation of children in care.

But I am hopeful.

Seeing the response by so many on social media has given me hope that the legislation will be overturned once again. I believe that by talking about it, by speaking out, by protesting, by having intelligent, civil conversations with your friends and family and not letting this issue die down, will ultimately bring a positive outcome. This is certainly when I see social media as one of the most powerful tools on the planet and I am grateful for every single voice that is screaming out in this situation.

I also have hope living in Queensland, Australia.

In December 2018, Queensland passed the bill which allows termination for up to 22 weeks. Whether you agree with the timeframes or not, the fact that as a woman, I have a choice if I find myself in that situation, is something I will never take for granted.

Let’s keep talking about this, and I promise, even though my community of followers is small, that I will continue to talk about the things that matter to me, and I’ll bet, for a lot of you too.

Han x

Featured image by @prettywhiskey