Alabama's Attack on Reproductive Justice

By Angelica López

Montgomery AL - On Wednesday, May 15, 2019, National Public Radio (NPR) correspondents Debbie Elliott and Laurel Wamsley reported that Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed House Bill (H.B.) 314, which effectively bans abortion in the state. The Alabama Human Life Protection Act is considered the most restrictive abortion law in the United States, even banning abortion in cases of rape or incest. Under the new law, it is a felony for doctors to perform an abortion procedure and could face up to 99 years in prison.

Enacting The Alabama Human Life Protection Act was not possible without some of America’s most prominent corporate donors. Judd Legum, journalist and founder, released a report via his new subscription service outlet Popular Info on the corporate contributions that were instrumental in pushing H.B. 314, such as Coca-Cola, AT&T, Exxon, Pfizer, Walmart, and other companies that were public champions of women’s rights and gender equality. Despite inclusive rhetoric, the aforementioned corporations have collectively donated thousands of dollars to Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth, Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed, House of Representatives Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter, and other Alabaman politicians.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ records, Alabama legislators, such as Greg Reed and Nathaniel Ledbetter, never have introduced any bill that requires public schools to provide sex and HIV/AIDS education. An unintended pregnancy can disrupt a teenager’s educational and career goals. Alabama ranks as having the eighth highest teen birth rate, according to an analysis conducted by Power to Decide (a nonpartisan organization formerly called the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy). Power to Decide describes Alabama as a “contraceptive desert.” Millions of women eligible for publicly funded contraceptives do not have access to the full range of birth control methods because of where they reside. There are only three abortion clinics left in the state: Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives, Reproductive Health Services of Montgomery, and West Alabama Women’s Center.

The law is scheduled to go into effect in November 2019. The American Civil Liberties Union has committed to challenge the legislation long before the law is implemented.