Alabama’s Bizarre New Abortion Law

Analysis by Kyle A. Lohmeier

Government is an inherently illogical institution. Even in the rare cases where there is some discernable logic in what a government is doing, the best that can be said about that logic is that it is twisted. Thursday, May 12 provided an example of this, when Alabama Governor Robert Bentley set his pen to two bills and made them law. Both have to do with restricting women’s access to abortion.

The first of those two new laws objectively makes exactly no sense whatsoever, regardless, henceforth, state health officials will no longer be able to approve or renew the licenses of abortion clinics that operate within 2000 feet of public schools serving students in grades kindergarten through eight. Yes, you read that right. Perhaps the state is afraid those murderous abortion doctors will mistake a kindergartener for a fetus and attempt to abort it on the playground? Bentley is a Republican, after all, so he may believe the religious reich’s propaganda on abortion. Or, perhaps the government wants to make it a little more difficult for the state’s knocked-up eighth graders to get an after school abortion. I mean, it is Alabama, the latter could be plausible.

The second law Bentley signed prohibits the medical-industry-standard procedure for aborting pregnancies in the second trimester, a process called dilation and evacuation, or D&E. Alabama is now the fifth state in the USA to ban the procedure. Coincidentally, the two clinics in Alabama that will be affected by the first law are the only two in the state that perform D&E abortions in the second trimester, according to a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union, which is preparing a legal challenge to the laws.

Despite the abject stupidity of these laws, and the pro-life movement in general, Bentley and Alabama deserve some credit for their oppressive innovativeness; no other state limits abortion clinic licensure based on proximity to schools, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which studies reproductive rights policy. If the idiotic law survives the legal challenges it is sure to face, we will likely see other states adopt similar bills in an effort to make abortion as-near-to-as-makes-no-difference illegal.

And, of course, to the rational, thinking, logical mind the question these bills, these efforts, and the entire pro-life movement in general begs is: why? Why the hell is there, in 21st century America a concerted, ongoing effort to tell women what they can and cannot do with their own bodies? Whenever I manage to get a hold of a pro-lifer and press them on this, the justification and motivation for being a pro-lifer, it always comes down to religion. Sure, they make some other nonsensical, half-hearted claims about protecting the “rights” of the unborn and about defending morality, but eventually it’s always “well, the bible says….” At which point I say, “Oh, shut the hell up.” We’re still not a theocracy, so it doesn’t matter what the bible says about anything.

There simply exists no rational argument for making abortions illegal.

If the 30+-year boondoggle called “The War on Drugs” has taught us anything, it’s that making something illegal prevents exactly no one who wants it from getting it. While this basic fact of human existence has led to a thriving black market in the drug trade for decades, the equivalent to that black market in the realm of medical procedures is a truly horrifying thing. So, any claim that anti-abortion laws are in support of women’s health are patently and obviously false.

Furthermore, and I understand the only evidence I have for this claim is anecdotal, but, I don’t know any ardent pro-lifers who are foster parents. The religious reich seems to believe that if abortion were made illegal again, people would stop having sex and there wouldn’t be any unwanted pregnancies to terminate. Of course, in reality, one side-effect of limiting access to abortion is that it will naturally create a lot more children in need of foster care, children who will end up becoming wards of the state until they are 18, costing taxpayers a hell of lot of money along the way.

Finally, and I don’t hear this argument made much, it is simply impossible to have a modern, evolved society where there is legal parity between the sexes and still have limits on abortion. There simply does not exist a common medical condition that afflicts only men that would cause them to lose legal sovereignty over their own bodies for nine months at a time. To say a woman doesn’t have the right to choose an abortion is to say that because she has become pregnant, a condition common to human women, she loses rights over her own body.

No state, no government has the right to make such a determination against a person who has not harmed the person or property of another human. It is impossible to assign rights to an unborn fetus without taking them away from the adult human carrying it inside them. There is simply no need whatsoever for government to regulate abortions, period. Pro-lifers are nothing more than a mob trying to get the government to use its monopoly on the legal initiation of violence to force all women to act like they believe in and follow the pro-life side’s interpretation of a religion. I can hardly imagine a less legitimate function of government than that.

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