The Mad Dash To Reverse Roe Vs. Wade Has Begun

You know it’s bad when even right-wing televangelist Pat Robertson says we’ve “gone too far.”

Alabama opened the proverbial flood gates Wednesday after governor Kay Ivey signed the most restrictive abortion ban in the nation.

Under this legislation, pregnancy begins at the moment of conception, and doctors who perform abortions for cases other than extreme risk to pregnant mothers’ lives will face 99 years in prison, even in cases of rape and incest.

But if you’re thinking, “Sure, that’s Alabama. It’ll never happen here,” you might want to keep reading.

One week ago, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a similar bill that bans abortion after six weeks, a point at which doctors can usually detect a fetal heartbeat, before most women even realize they are pregnant.

Last month, Ohio governor Mike DeWine signed a bill nearly identical to Georgia’s.

On Thursday, Missouri advanced a bill 24-10 to criminalize abortions at 8 weeks.

More than a dozen states this year have sought to outlaw abortion.

Residents of LouisianaMissouriSouth Carolina, and Tennessee, your state has advanced anti-choice bills past one chamber of its legislature.

Residents of MarylandMinnesotaNew YorkTexas, and West Virginia, your state has also introduced anti-choice legislation.

All told, 61 anti-choice bills have been introduced across the country.

This is not just about individual states’ rights.

It’s about overturning the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case Roe versus Wade that legalized abortion.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted:

“Women’s rights are under attack. This relentless and cruel Republican assault on women’s health is designed to force a court battle to destroy Roe v. Wade. Democrats will be ready to defend health care and women’s reproductive freedom.”

And it’s exactly what the religious right expected to get when it threw its wholehearted support behind the mendacious thrice-married philanderer Donald J. Trump for president and his “Christian” running mate, Michael Pence.

It was Pence, who, as Indiana governor ordered Purvi Patel imprisoned for 20 years for having a miscarriage, alleging she had taken an abortifacient, despite tests confirming Patel did not have any drugs in her system.

Just before being elected vice president, Pence signed legislation requiring miscarried and aborted fetuses “interred or cremated,” regardless of pregnancy duration.

This was the impetus behind the “Periods for Pence,” movement, in which women tweeted or called Pence’s office to inform him when their periods started and ended so the state wouldn’t mistake their usual menstruation periods for miscarriages.

Years before–also on Pence’s watch–Bei Bei Shuai spent 435 days of a 45-year sentence in the Marion County, Indiana maximum security prison for attempting suicide, causing her 33-week fetus to die.

Then there is 28-year-old Melissa Ann Rowland of Utah, charged with murder after refusing to deliver her twins via Caesarean section.

One of those twins died.

Mississippi charged sixteen-year-old Rennie Gibbs with “depraved heart murder” after her baby was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck, causing its death.

According to state prosecutors, Gibbs had traces of cocaine in her bloodstream.

Angela Carder was also ordered to have a C-section before she succumbed to cancer.

Both she and the baby died during the procedure.

According to the Duke University Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, there were 413 documented cases of women prosecuted for miscarrying or attempting abortions between the when Roe v. Wade became the law in 1973 and 2005.

Is this version of Christian “Sharia Law” what we can expect in America’s future?

After all, we were warned.

Three years ago, Donald Trump admitted “There has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions.

Trump’s affection for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is well documented.

So maybe he and the GOP are interested in following the Middle-Eastern kingdom’s Orwellian practice of unleashing their police on “badly behaved women.”

Exactly what Jesus would have done, right?

Although reproductive rights have always been a political football since Roe v. Wade‘s signing, and there have been prognosticators that have predicted its demise before, we are hard-pressed to think of time in recent memory when the religious right has been so emboldened and women’s rights so threatened.

What country do we want America to be?

We know what conservatives want.

They want to “end” abortions (except for mostly white women of means).

Is this who we are?

You know the answer.

Image credit: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/5/14/1857484/-Cartoon-End-of-the-Roe

Main image credit: Flickr

Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to Op-Ed News, Liberal Nation Rising, and Zoedune.