As a young woman, the rights granted to me by Roe v. Wade are undeniably important, and now after witnessing a growing amount of states pass restrictive, anti-abortion laws such as Georgia’s “heartbeat bill,” betrayal is a predominant feeling.
Georgia’s recent “heartbeat bill,” House Bill 481, was signed into law this past Tuesday by Republican Governor Brian Kemp, and if not challenged in court it will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.
The bill seeks to make the procedure illegal once there is a “detectable human heartbeat,” and has the potential to criminalize offenders with an impending penalty of jail time.
On average, the point at which doctors can detect a fetal heartbeat is at merely six weeks, only a small portion, about one-sixth, of the full 40-week term.
HB 481 would ban women from the ability to terminate an unwanted pregnancy once they are around six weeks into their first trimester, a point at which many women are unaware they are pregnant. At which point, a woman’s period is essentially only two weeks late, and they are only just then coming to the realization they might be carrying a child.
It’s important to note there are exceptions to the abortion ban in cases of rape and incest, as long as women come forward to report the crimes against them to authorities and obtain an official police report, according to The Associated Press News.
However, the act of coming forward and reporting a traumatizing attack on your body is something the majority of women are already too terrified to go through with. Seeking justice and charges against your rapist is difficult in a country which puts college sports before the safety of our women, such as in the case of Brock Turner, who was sentenced to only six months in jail after raping an unconscious woman.
At which point are the lives of women going to be accounted for as more states move forward to pass laws criminalizing, banning and downright blocking the rights of women to receive an abortion? How can lawmakers push forward with restricting rights granted by our utmost respected law of the land, the Constitution?
Lawmakers claim to be “pro-life,” but they are deliberately restricting women’s rights and attempting to overturn the United States Supreme Court’s 1973 landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade, which constitutes the rights to a safe, legal abortion prior to the viability of the fetus.
The ruling in the case of Roe v. Wade has been upheld in this country for almost five decades, which begs the question, why are we moving backwards in our political decisions? Creating legislation that has the potential to reverse the SCOTUS decision in the future is detrimental to the progress we have made in the field of women's rights.
According to Planned Parenthood’s website, 73 percent of people in the United States do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, something of which some politicians and select supreme court justices, such as recently appointed justice Brett Kavanaugh, are actively pushing for.
There is no justice or consideration for the lives of all women in this bill. It was pushed and passed by conservatives following through with a promised pro-life agenda, serving themselves and not the people.
Restrictive anti-abortion legislation is growing across the country, and many individuals such as myself are calling for action to be taken against these new laws. We as women will not put down our posters and turn from protests, we will not stop trying to advocate for change and we will never stop pushing for our rights to be protected.