Abortion: A woman’s right or govermnent decision?
New debate over Roe v. Wade
Kaeche Liburd OW Contributor | 5/31/2019, midnight
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Black women are three to four times more likely to die due to pregnancy complications. This means that there is a lot more at stake in their decision to carry a child to term. Legislation directly affects lives and deaths. The 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalized abortion in every state. A recent strengthening of strategic legal action by anti-choice activists has made moves to restrict rights provided by the Roe v. Wade decision.
Historically, Black women have been subjected to unauthorized and unnecessary uterus removal and were used for experiments in gynecology without their knowledge or consent. Being forced to take a pregnancy to term, women are subjected to yet another form of involuntary servitude. America continues to legislate to control decisions about reproduction for women.
Georgia ‘Heartbeat Bill’
The fetal heartbeat bills, as they are called across America, are problematic for several reasons. An embryo is defined as a fertilized egg until eight weeks when it becomes a fetus. Heart development takes seven weeks (50 days) for the anatomy to develop and heart muscle cell organization can take up to 20 weeks to place muscle cells in appropriate orientation for the heart wall. Is it a heartbeat if it’s not a whole heart that’s beating? Many neo-natal experts believe the term “fetal heartbeat” can be misleading as it refers to embryos six weeks old or less, that have an underdeveloped organ which media refers to as a “heartbeat” for emotional appeal and manipulation. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law a bill that would ban abortions if an embryo heartbeat can be detected.
Similar bills in other states
Summarized as a “heartbeat bill,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich has signed a similar bill into law. Kentucky passed a heartbeat bill now blocked by a federal judge. Arkansas signed into law a bill that decreases a woman’s time limit to have an abortion to 18 weeks. The Utah law is a copy of the Arkansas law, but is being blocked by a federal judge. Iowa made a similar law, but a state judge struck it down. This month, federal judge, Carlton Reeves, struck down a Mississippi law that forbade abortions after approximately six weeks of pregnancy whereby a fetal heartbeat is detectable. Judge Reeves stated the law “threatens immediate harm to womens’ rights, especially considering most women do not seek abortions services until after six weeks.”
No exception for rape or incest
Alabama passed a law that leaves no exceptions for rape or incest, and would seek to penalize abortion providers with up to 99 years in prison. This is now the most restrictive abortion law of any state in the nation. The Georgia abortion ban places new restrictions on pregnancy that goes beyond six weeks, often the earliest time when an embryo has a detectable heartbeat. Because of social and economic inequality, Black and Latina women are reportedly more heavily impacted by the abortion ban.
Legalese and legislation
The Guttmacher Institute reports that the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade made clear that the right to an abortion was protected by the Constitution. The Hyde Amendment, in effect since 1977, essentially bans federal dollars from being used for abortion coverage for women insured by Medicaid, the nation’s main public health insurance program for low-income Americans. “Women who are low-income and lack insurance coverage for abortion often struggle to pay for the procedure,’” the Guttmacher Institute found. Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote that the Hyde Amendment, which drastically restricts access to abortions via funding constraints, “is designed to deprive poor and minority women of the constitutional right to choose abortion.”