It's been a frightening two weeks for the US, after a series of troubling laws restricting reproductive rights have passed across the country. Just two days ago, Republicans in Alabama passed a harsh law banning abortion - with no exception for rape or incest - criminalising those who seek to have an abortion as well as the doctors who choose to perform the procedure. That sentence could be up to 99 years in prison.
As Patrick Shriver put it, "In Alabama, a man who RAPES & gets a woman pregnant will serve LESS time then the person that removes the embryo that was forcefully put in the victim..."
Alabama was not the first state to enact the oppressive legislature. Early last week, Georgia's Governor Brian Kemp signed into effect a fetal heartbeat bill to the raucous applause of Republicans in the state. The HB 481 bill makes it illegal to receive an abortion once a heartbeat is detected in the womb, and that happens as early as six weeks into the pregnancy. For many women, that's as soon as missing one period.
The anti-abortion bill referred to as the "Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act," also amends Georgia state laws to redefine the nature of personhood; under new legislature, the concept of a "natural person" has been expanded to mean "any human being including an unborn child." These embryos and fetuses will, therefore, be counted in state population-based determinations and will be considered, for tax purposes, dependent minors.
The current plan, as it stands, has no mention of policies to ensure a proper standard of living for these dependents once they are born. Nor are there any plans in place to provide government support for mothers coerced to give birth to said dependents under this law beyond the possibility of ordering fathers of the unborn to pay child support.
When Governor Kemp signed the bill into law, collective protests erupted worldwide. Inside of the courtroom, however, Georgia Republicans could barely contain their excitement over the major legislative development, evening donning "pro-life" hats to commemorate the occasion.
One specific celebration, as noted by marie claire US, saw State Senator Bruce Thompson give State Representative Ed Setzler a fist bump.
Both the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood are already hard at work preparing to take legal action against these bills.