There are not many other issues that raise the hackles of perfectly polite, open-minded Americans like the ongoing debate on Abortion Access in the United States. It seems as though it has become a discussion centralized on morals, religious practices and the polarized mentalities of the different regions of this nation. But what we polite, open-minded folk often forget is that the core of this dispute, as it pertains to the national stage, is really about freedom. It is not necessary (nor even remotely possible) for every member of the Senate or the House to personally agree with abortion. But what is absolutely dire is that our nation's government recalls and acts according to its fundamental oath to protect the 'life and liberty' of its citizens.
Lately, those with legislative power and polarized views on abortion have been attempting to seize the liberty of women all over the United States, thinking it a fair practice to project their own personal prejudices on the freedom of women to chose. This is a scary trend which has monopolized an enormous portion of our country. Already, 17 states have passed restrictive laws on abortion care and 17 more have threatened to do the same (see map). This should be frightening because it means there are 34 states who consider it not only justifiable but appropriate to trample the freedom and health of the women who live there.
The worst part of it all is that politicians were dishonest about their true intent. A current trend in anti-abortion legislation is to enforce unnecessary standards on abortion clinics that result in forcing the clinics to spend millions of dollars, many of which are unable to do and are forced to close. For example, in Alabama abortion clinics are required to meet the medical standards of an ambulatory surgery center. Dan McConchie, vice president for legislative affairs of Americans United for Life claims that these requirements are created in "a genuine effort to ensure that if clinics are going to operate, they operate to high standards that protect women's health and safety." That is, as our Vice President would put it, a bunch of malarkey. But yesterday the truth came out. J. Pepper Bryars, a former speechwriter and press secretary for Alabama Gov. Bob Riley published an op-ed in the Huntsville Times that reveals, or at least finally admits, exactly what the ultimate agenda for these anti-choice politicians is. "Of course we want to close all abortion clinics" the article is entitled. He continues by affirming that "pro-choice advocates fear that the wave of abortion restrictions sweeping through state legislatures are part of a broader strategy to completely abolish a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy – and they're right." He assures readers that the Alabama initiative will never rest "until the number of abortion providers in Alabama falls to the only acceptable number – zero." Bryars also gleefully reports that while in the early 1980s there were 45 abortion clinics, this number has declined rapidly in the past ten years. The current number of Alabama abortion clinics? 5. To give you an idea of the gravity of that single digit there are about 2,483,342 women in Alabama according to the United States Census Bureau.
Well, at least the true intentions of these politicians are out in the open. Does it make the fight any easier? Probably not. As a young woman, I take this anti-choice agenda very personally. By attempting to fully abolish abortion services and use coercive, shaming tactics on those women who may require them, these politicians (most of who are men) are telling me that I do not deserve the right to chose. My personal beliefs on abortion are entirely irrelevant, but I am adamantly of the opinion that I am entitled to make private, uninterfered decisions about my reproductive health. These politicians cannot be permitted to steal the freedom of thousands women to make decisions about their own bodies. We must stem this flow of restrictive law making before it is too late and we women are completely silenced.
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