6 weeks ago, Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill into law that makes abortion a crime punishable with up to 99 years in prison. As soon as this happened, Alabama was front and center in the national news cycle. You heard people saying this was an attack on women’s rights and healthcare. You heard other people saying this was a step in the right direction and protected life. What you didn’t hear much of was young people’s voices.The young women of Alabama understand what this law means and we want a chance to say something about it.
Now that 6 weeks have gone by, the media attention on our state has significantly died down. Not many people are talking about this law anymore, even though it directly impacts young people and future generations. We want to change that. Hear from 4 young women in the state on how the ban has affected them. It’s our turn to speak.
Isabel Hope, 17, Tuscaloosa:
The abortion ban still affects me in the sense that, I don’t feel safe in my home state anymore. The strange thing is that I’m not sure if I was ever safe to begin with. I am currently drowning in college prep and whenever people tell me I should stay in-state, I can’t help but wonder “so if I get raped and pregnant, you’re gonna pay for my college tuition and my baby?” It’s a legitimate thought that I have had. I don’t feel respected or protected here.
Also, I am kind of a youth activism nerd and I fully know that if young people were involved with gender equity or policy making, we wouldn’t have these problems. No one will be more affected by this law then young women. It perpetuates rape culture to the highest extent, and as much as I respect the pro-life viewpoint, it sure does feel like my representatives are trying to kill me.
Jawana Kamal, 16, Tuscaloosa:
Alabama’s recent abortion ban is an unfair attempt at controlling bodily autonomy. Women deserve the right to choose what they want to do with their body, especially when that choice doesn’t have any effect on those who are pro-life. It’s especially absurd that victims of rape and incest are not considered as exceptions. No one should have to live with a child of the person who abused them. It is a trauma that will remain with them for the rest of their lives and forcing them to carry the child is only a reminder. What also needs to be considered is that making abortions illegal will only encourage unsafe abortions and cause women to possibly inflict harm to themselves.
Joie Steele, 15, Tuscaloosa:
Personally, I would never have an abortion. I don’t think I could mentally handle it. Still, it isn’t right for the government to be able to decide what we as women do with our bodies. The fact that the government is sticking its nose into everything is just ridiculous. Church and state are two very separate things that should be kept, well, separate. Could they please focus on the school systems instead? or our climate? or literally anything else that is actually hurting our world?
With all of that being said, I don’t believe it should be used as a primary source of birth control. There are so many other options. A life shouldn’t be ended just because someone forgot to use a condom, but it’s still not my decision to make what you do to your body and it’s definitely not the government’s.
Love Lundy, 17, Madison:
The abortion ban in Alabama is a disgusting example of how destructive a lack of diversity in leadership can be. Every single man who felt that he was representing women should rethink what it means to be an ally in the modern world.
Written by: Isabel Hope / @isabama / @isabamahope
Jawana Kamal / @jawanakamal
Joie Steele / @joie.steele
Love Lundy / @theblackaltoid
Edited by: Isabel Hope / @isabama / @isabamahope
Elizabeth Webber / @lizflute13 / @elizabethw169