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Alabama’s Abortion Ban: What’s Happening, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do

Alabama's Abortion Ban: What's Happening, Why It Matters, What You Can Do

Yesterday, Alabama signed into law the most restrictive abortion bill in the country — with no exceptions for rape or incest. We wanted to break down exactly what’s happening and how it could affect every woman’s future…

What’s happening in Alabama?

On Wednesday, May 15th, Alabama governor Kay Ivey signed into law the most restrictive abortion bill in the country: a near-total ban on the procedure, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Under the legislation, doctors could face up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion.

The law allows exceptions only “to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother,” for ectopic pregnancy (when the fertilized egg attaches itself in a place other than inside the uterus), and if the “unborn child has a lethal anomaly.”

(When asked what would happen under the bill to a child who was a victim of incest and discovered she was pregnant, Republican Alabama state senator Clyde Chambliss, said that, while the young girl would have to carry and birth the baby, he hoped she could get mental help. “What I hope is, if we pass this bill, that all young ladies would be educated by their parents, their guardians that should a situation like this occur, you need to go get help — you need to do it immediately,” Chambliss said.)

Also, it’s important to note and spread the word: Abortion services are still safe, legal and available in Alabama right now. The bill will not take effect until at least six months after becoming law.

Is Alabama the only state where this is happening?

Alabama’s law is the most extreme, making no exception for rape and incest victims and criminalizing doctors who perform abortions, but other states have passed so-called “heartbeat bills” (banning abortion once a cardiac rhythm can be detected in an embryo — to be medically accurate, there is no actual heart yet — which usually happens around six weeks, an early stage when many women won’t even yet know they are pregnant), including Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi and Georgia. Controversial restrictions are also being considered in states including Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah, Arkansas, West Virginia, Missouri and Indiana. (Here is a breakdown of state-by-state restrictions.) Another big issue overall is access: because of regulations specifically targeting abortion clinics, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia now each have only one abortion clinic left statewide, making access especially difficult for the young, rural and poor.

Why is this happening now? What could it mean for the future?

Politicians who are supporting the bill actually have a larger overall goal in mind.

Conservative states are passing more extreme abortion legislation right now for one major reason: the ultimate goal is to get the Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling that recognized a constitutional right for a woman to end a pregnancy, and legalized abortion nationwide. For instance, if the Alabama anti-abortion bill is contested (the ACLU has already sworn to sue), then the case will likely rise up through the courts to the Supreme Court. With Trump’s appointments of conservative justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, the court now has a conservative majority. So, anti-abortion advocates see this as the right time to pass bills that are likely to be challenged and end up in front of the Supreme Court.

These anti-abortion laws are being passed with the direct goal of challenging Roe v. Wade.

Alabama governor Kay Ivey said as much in her official statement: “No matter one’s personal view on abortion, we can all recognize that, at least for the short term, this bill may similarly be unenforceable. As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court even when we disagree with their decisions. Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur.”

Will Roe v. Wade definitely be overruled if this case makes it to the Supreme Court?

It’s not entirely clear. But with five conservative justices on the court and four liberal ones, it’s not an exaggeration to say that a woman’s constitutional right to end a pregnancy is seriously threatened. (The New York Times reports that changes are likely to be more incremental in a court led by Chief Justice John Roberts, who has shown restraint when overruling precedent.)

What are some of the reasons a woman may want or need an abortion?

If the woman is a victim of rape or incest. If the unborn fetus or the woman has health problems. If the birth would cause psychological trauma. If the woman can not afford a child. If having a child dramatically interferes with a woman’s education, work or ability to care for her dependents. If birth control fails, and the woman does not want a child. Because it’s her choice and her body.

But what if you, personally, oppose abortion?

Many people who oppose abortion want to stop abortion by making it illegal. But the truth is, making abortion illegal doesn’t stop abortion. It just makes it less safe. Evidence has shown, time and time again, that women will continue getting abortions in places where it’s illegal — they just have to do it under illegal, unsafe conditions. Thousands of women die of complications from unsafe abortions every year, and many others suffer major long-term health problems, including infection and hemorrhaging. “This hurts women, their families and their communities, but it does little to reduce abortion,” says the Center for American Progress.

A better way to reduce abortion is to reduce unintended pregnancies.

The rate of abortions naturally declines when the number of unintended pregnancies declines. According to researchers, the biggest driver for abortion decline is increased access to contraception. (“Colorado, for example, provided birth control for little or no cost to low-income women across the state,” reports Vox. “Between 2009 and 2013, it saw the state’s teen pregnancy rate decline by more than 40 percent— the sharpest drop in the country over that time period.”)

Other ways to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, according to the Center for American Progress: comprehensive sex education that includes medically accurate information about abstinence and contraception; insurance coverage of and public funding for family planning services; greater access to emergency contraception (which prevents pregnancy and does not cause abortion); and programs that help curb domestic violence and sexual abuse.

What can we do to help?

Donate. The ACLU, Planned Parenthood and NARAL are all fighting to defend a woman’s right to end a pregnancy safely and legally. The National Network of Abortion Funds helps remove financial and logitical barriers for low-income people seeking abortions. And in Alabama, The Yellowhammer Fund helps women in Alabama with medical costs, travel and a place to stay, if they need and/or want an abortion. (Alabama has only three abortion clinics, plus demanding state hurdles and waiting periods.)

“Alabama politicians will forever live in infamy for this vote, and we will make sure that every woman knows who to hold accountable,” said Staci Fox, the president of Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates. “In the coming days, we will be mounting the fight of our lives — we will take this to court and ensure abortion remains safe and legal.”

Volunteer. Help support Planned Parenthood’s work by volunteering at a clinic or by making calls from home. You can sign up here.

Get local. You can find local ways to help, based on where you live, in this great Twitter thread.

Please leave suggestions of other ways to help, below. Thank you so much for reading. xo

(Photo by the Associated Press of a march in Washington, D.C., of women demanding legalized abortion, 1971, via the New York Times.)

  1. Thank you for this. I have been so ANGRY about all of these restrictive laws going into place, especially the one in Alabama, but I hadn’t done anything about it yet. I just made donations to both planned parenthood + the ACLU — I appreciate you making it simple to help, in some way.

  2. beks says...

    Ironically there is a execution for a death row inmate in Alabama scheduled for 6pm today. I can not WTF?!!?! any harder…

    • Saba says...

      Yes. The hypocrisy is overwhelming.

      And thank you so much COJ for this piece. We need to have more clear, accurate, and succinct conversations about what is happening.

  3. Anne says...

    Oh my heart just aches for any woman (or couple) facing this decision. We elected to terminate after severe birth defects were discovered at 21 weeks. It was gut wrenchingly painful. I am forever grateful to the group of doctors, nurses and office staff who sat with me. Who had compassion and looked me straight in the eyes and said, “It’s okay.” They held my hand and wiped my tears and knew that the decision had been beyond painful to make. I felt so supported and loved, it just breaks my heart that someone else may not have the same.

    • A says...

      I am so so sorry for your heartbreak. And so happy your medical team offered you support during such a devastating time.

      Xoxo.

  4. Ann says...

    It burns my bacon that Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, A WOMAN signed this bill!!!! Thank you for doing this post and offering all the links to support Women!

    • Kristin says...

      Yes!!! Same.

  5. Nell says...

    Donating to organizations fighting these bans and restrictions in the courts and on the ground is so important – but I’ve also been encouraging friends who are able, to donate to organizations that are supporting the rights of people who want to be present and healthy mothers, but are denied that right. This includes people of color who experience dramatically worse maternal health outcomes, people in the prison system, and people without comprehensive healthcare. Just a few of these organizations include:
    – National Advocates for Pregnant Women
    – The National Bail Out Collective (and the #freeblackmamas campaign)
    – Black Mamas Matter Alliance

    We have to keep the pressure on to keep abortion access safe and available, but this is also an important part of a feminist, pro-choice movement.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      this is wonderful, nell. thank you.

      we donated as a company to black mamas matter and the national bail out collective on mother’s day and will do so again today. thank you again for your comment.

  6. Hayley says...

    Thank you for writing such a comprehensive, well-organized post about this topic. Women have a right to seek a safe, legal abortion if they so choose. End of story.

  7. wynn says...

    I’m so thankful that Roe V. Wade will be challenged in my lifetime. It was built upon the filmiest of foundations. Even if you’re pro-choice, you have to admit that finding a right to abortion within an amendment concerning privacy is reallllly stretching for it.

    It’s interesting to see Jo and the staff rail against immigration and gun violence but act as if abortion is something safe, normal, and clean-cut. I can’t think of anything more violent that intentionally killing something because it’s inconvenient.

    • Caitlin says...

      Seriously??? You think that is restricting someones rights to not allow them to own a gun with no restrictions, but forcing a 12 year old rape victim to carry her rapists baby to term is completely fine?

    • Lisa says...

      Abortion is safe (when it’s legal) and it’s normal. It is never, ever, clear cut. Trust me and trust women on this. You make your choice for yourself and let others handle themselves.

    • Krista says...

      I definitely don’t have to admit that, esp because there is no such thing as a “privacy amendment”, which leads me to strongly suspect you’ve never read the decision. The right to privacy, read into several different amendments (as a “zone” or “penumbra”!) over the Court’s long history has been the basis for many legal protections – of which abortion and family planning, generally, is just one. It’s basically the notion that we all have autonomy over ourselves, which is why Roe fits there.

    • Brooke says...

      Not to mention that Norma McCorvey, “Jane Roe” in Roe v. Wade, never got an abortion and has dedicated her life to overturning the case to stop abortion.

      Nothing makes me more sad than thinking about all these men and women who think abortion is their personal right.

    • JB says...

      I think there’s room to be anti-abortion but struggle with the extreme case of the 12 year old rape victim. I think a person can be anti-abortion but feel very compassionate for a child in such a devastating situation. I’m not sure how WYnn feels as the comment left didn’t actually say if Wynn feels the law went to far or what regarding the situation you mention.

    • Abbie says...

      I’m shocked and saddened by this perspective. Forcing pregnancy and childbirth on any girl or woman is more than inconvenient – it’s inhumane. That goes for any girl or woman but at the most extreme end of the spectrum, as another commenter points out, would be a 12 year old rape victim. I think the vast majority of people commenting here have been 12 year old girls. Imagine yourself at that age, carrying a pregnancy for nine months and then giving birth. It’s unthinkable. (And I hate to rely on the most extreme example because I don’t believe that any girl or woman should be forced into pregnancy or childbirth. But I use this example because it should be so blatantly wrong to any caring, compassionate person.)

    • Cynthia says...

      It is safe and normal.

  8. Emma says...

    As a generation x woman, I never thought I’d see this day. In Australia we’re progressing with our abortion laws, so to see this is shocking to me and is taking a massive, cruel step back to a time before I was born.

    Personal feelings about abortion shouldn’t have anything to do with legislation – I come from a catholic family and not one of them, despite feeling very uncomfortable about abortion, thinks it should be banned.

    Ultimately, women having safe access to abortion is for the greater good and I really don’t understand why lawmakers, or anybody for that matter, can’t separate those two factors.

  9. Thank you thank you thank you for this. I have been so full of rage and despair this week, watching all this unfold and feeling powerless to stop it. Thank you not only for bringing awareness to this atrocious violation of women’s rights, but for reminding me that it is not a hopeless situation.

  10. Rita says...

    Thanks for posting this today. I live in St. Louis, MO and was sick to my stomach and angry when I saw the news this morning that our state senate passed a bill that also restricts abortion after 8 weeks. It’s mind boggling how we made so much progress only to fall backwards to 45 years ago! I hope this gets turned the right way again soon, and I will be donating and supporting the cause.

  11. Steph says...

    Thank you for posting about this. Just a friendly reminder too that it’s not just ciswomen who get abortions but trans and nonbinary people too, and their ability to access this important healthcare is already extremely difficult. Including them in the conversation is critical!

  12. Leah says...

    I am pregnant right now. To become pregnant, my husband and I did IVF a couple of times. Unfortunately, we produced several non-viable embryos. Eventually, after a few failed embryo transfers (which were hard on me, and on us), we had our remaining embryos tested and made a decision to have the non-viable ones destroyed. When we did so, it was a difficult decision (what if the test is wrong? What if, what if, what if?), but one made in consultation with the embryologist and our doctors. Ultimately, I only became pregnant with an embryo that had tested viable.

    I can’t help but think about how grateful I am that when we made our decision, we were faced with no rhetoric about “destroying life” or “going against God’s will”. Instead, we were met with compassion and information.

    Others have made this point, but if the debate was truly about “life”, women like me would have had to deal with this BS too. Instead, these laws mostly affect poor women, women who have been victims of abuse, women in bad situations, women who are down on their luck, and women who are not ready to be parents. I cannot imagine being in a time of need like that, and being met with such cruelty.

  13. Rae says...

    Thank you for posting this.
    Some folks have mentioned the difficult intersection of religion and politics as it surrounds the issue of abortion. I know there are many good sources of the history of how the Republican Party became solidly anti-abortion, as well as Evangelic Christians embracing an anti-abortion stance. It is very interesting to read about the shift from supporting choice (which both groups publicly did until the late 1960’s) to adamant anti-abortion.
    The podcast Straight White American Jesus has a fascinating overview of this history, episode 9, for anyone who cares to listen.

    • k says...

      Thank you for the info on the podcast. Could you tell us the name of the episode? I can’t find episode 9. Thanks.

  14. Sara says...

    Thank you for thoughtfully highlighting this issue, as we can always depend on you to do. As I was made aware (and privilege! is why it didn’t occur to me before) by the activist Shishi Rose, this issue can not be divorced from white supremacy.
    To paraphrase her instagram (https://www.instagram.com/p/BxfKtgTADqW/) post, the most states banning or trying to ban abortions have the highest proportion of black women living there. These are the women birthing the children that then go on to dis-proportionally go on to populate our for-profit prisons that white legislators are beneficiaries of. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/04/28/how-for-profit-prisons-have-become-the-biggest-lobby-no-one-is-talking-about/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.25a398487b3f

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      YES YES YES.

    • Elisabeth says...

      Sara, thank you. Ijeoma Olou had an excellent post on this topic yesterday as well.

    • Milly says...

      This argument always confuses me, because it sounds like advocating for killing a disproportionate number of underprivileged, often black, children. Are they less valuable? Why are we so afraid of them? It seems that those white legislators are actually protecting their lives so that they get to choose how to live them.

    • Sara says...

      Milly….WHAT?

    • Sara says...

      Milly, I’m sorry, I just can’t with this comment or people like you who will not do the work to educate themselves. Black people will always be the hardest hit victims of any attack on human rights. People of privilege will most likely always have safe abortions, regardless of law. This ban hits POC and those living in poverty the hardest. This is another way to make the school to prison pipeline stronger (how can we make the poor poorer? Make them have more babies they don’t want through zero funding for healthcare/contraceptives!) Prisons full of POC doing manual labor, prisons that need to maintain capacity or the state literally has to pay for empty beds! These for-profit prisons give money to politicians (not to mention lobbying and campaign contributions) who then go on and pass legislation (like the three strikes law) that keep our prisons full! This is a veiled form of slavery!

  15. Abbie says...

    Thank you very much for posting this. I live in a country with free and safe access to abortions and I cannot imagine the horror of being forced into pregnancy and childbirth against my will. I’ve always been pro-choice and ironically felt even more strongly about this when I became pregnant myself (with a very much wanted and planned baby). I remember struggling through the brutal first trimester and feeling so utterly dreadful physically, and thinking how desperately cruel it would be to make someone go through that if they didn’t want to. The same thought came back to me when I was in labour, enduring the most intense and all-consuming pain imaginable. The thought of anyone having to go through that against their will is so horrifying to me. It would be inhumane for anyone, but the fact that this law would make no exemption for an 11 year old victim of rape/incest sickens me beyond all measure. For those people who are against abortion – that’s fine, you don’t have to have one. But please don’t force other girls and women into pregnancy and childbirth against their will. I gave birth to a girl who is now just a few months old but could be menstruating in ten years time. Those who are in support of this law would think it right for her to endure pregnancy and childbirth at that young age if she were to be sexually assaulted. I really try to be open minded to all sides of a debate but I can’t help but find that viewpoint despicable.

  16. Michelle says...

    Thank you for writing this.

  17. Alex says...

    Thank you so much COJ for talking about this <3

  18. jane says...

    What shocks me about this is that so many states have such extreme limitations already in place. I had no idea. Do that many women in those states actually want that?

    The hard line against victims of rape/incest is just inhumane. I hope those states at least provide automatic financial support and harsh legal recriminations – like mandatory sentence of 21 years etc. (equivalent to the term to adulthood the mother will have to deal with). Anything less is literally legalized misogyny.

    • jane says...

      Not to mention a massive public sex education effort in schools. Why is it legal to not educate people while disallowing options for the inevitable??

  19. Shannon says...

    Hi Joanna. I wonder if you could give a space for women to share their abortion stories. As a women who grew up in a conservative state in a conservative family it was ground breaking to me, as an adult, to find other women who had also had pregnancies that they chose not to continue. Unfortunately (because I had hoped that the world would have moved further by this date), I think it would continue to be powerful for young people to know that abortions don’t shape their entire lives and that the details fade to the past. I’d like young girls to know that good, kind, smart women have had abortions and continue to feel strong and proud of the decisions they made.

    • lkb says...

      I agree–with every story I hear or read of others’ experiences, I become more strongly pro-choice and more dumbstruck that others aren’t.

  20. car54 says...

    Our President is hyper-focused on planning his long awaited 4th of July Parade. Women need to plan to take to the streets and remind him again what a real crowd size looks like.

    I’m old and this won’t personally impact me but this is an orchestrated attack against women and to survive it we need to be ready to fight.
    Both my grandmother and mother were forced to take measures to terminate pregnancies in the days when it was illegal and had to risk their lives to do it. We cannot go back to that.

  21. Stephanie says...

    Thank you for this incredibly important post!!

  22. Marie says...

    There is a lot of talk these days about patriarchy, and it’s negative effects. I agree, it is. When I think of patriarchy I think of fathers in hyper religious circles who believe that their wives and children are their property. As long as they are under their roof, they are in charge and can do whatever they want. Abortion seems like the same thing. It’s the attitude that as long as this child is in my womb, I can do whatever I want to it. I have been pregnant many times, and what was always very clear to me from day one of pregnancy was that there was ME, and then there was them! Two separate beings, living in one space. Yes, they lived in my body, and I could technically over power them, and do whatever I wanted, but that would violate them. If abortion is okay, and we really all have the right to choose, then by the same logic we should never judge pregnant mothers who choose to drink, do drugs, smoke, etc.

    • Abesha1 says...

      You’re absolutely right- we shouldn’t judge them. We should offer them free prenatal care, maternity leave, and subsidized childcare.

  23. Katie says...

    Thanks for posting this, you guys. <3

  24. A says...

    I got a little worried when you said “What are some of the reasons a woman may want or need an abortion?” because I feel like a lot of the emphasis has been placed exclusively on the rape/incest provision of this bill (which is, of course, horrible). But there are so many other reasons women have abortions that are just as valid and just as much their choice to make! And I love that you included those reasons in your answer. I was doing the Meryl Streep YES! at the Oscar’s gif in my head. You always know what to say Cup of Jo – thank you for addressing this.

    • CEW says...

      Agreed! I got an abortion at 24, and while it was a hard thing to go through with my then-boyfriend, it was undoubtedly the right choice for us and we’ve never regretted it. We are now married with a wonderful son, who has parents that 10000% wanted him and have the ability to care for him the way he should be cared for. This is just one of many, many stories out there. Once again Cup of Jo gets it exactly right. Thank you!!!

    • E says...

      I found the stories and support available on this website comforting in the wake of my pregnancy termination at 24 weeks. This essay in particular was an important and much-needed gut check. To your point, there are myriad reasons why a woman would want an abortion, and they are all equally valid.

      Thank you, Joanna, for addressing this.

      https://endingawantedpregnancy.com/destigmatizing-abortion/

  25. Marci says...

    No irresponsible fertilizing, no baby. Deal with the penis.

    • Taryn says...

      WOW. What a profound read. Thank you for sharing!

    • n says...

      came here to share the same article!

    • Thanks for sharing this! Good food for thought and lots of solid logic, which seems to be missing from so many arguments in favor of these restrictive laws.

    • Desiree says...

      I’m going to get a ton of heat for this, but I’m sick of the gender biased finger pointing. That statement alone is a little extreme. How about both parties take some responsibility as adults? It’s one thing to shout out loud that “It’s my body. A woman should have a say in any decisions regarding her body”, but now all of a sudden it’s “men causing 100% of unwanted pregnancies”? Really? Why don’t both adults think of the unintended consequences of having a one night stand, or unprotected sex? Why not just admit that poor mistakes were made? Let’s think of the logic here before pointing the finger, and stop treating women like they are some mute, innocent sheep who are lead astray by men?

    • Natalie says...

      Agreed Desiree! I hate this article too. I get what it is intending to say but it does a really poor and dangerous job of doing so. Women and men are both responsible for proper birth control. It’s that simple.
      Stop pointing fingers at people and take accountability for your actions
      How can we ever keep the dialogue open to make meaningful change if we continue to point fingers at people?

    • Anni says...

      Desiree, respectfully: did you read the entirety of the article that Laur linked to? Please read it because this is a conversation to continue. usually I need to read articles a few times or aloud to fully comprehend stuff that’s brings up a lot of emotions. I’d just be curious to hear what other thoughts you have besides what you posted, which seems (to me, sorry if I’m assuming) like your response to just the title of the article.

    • Desiree, did you *read* the article or just the title?? I definitely agree with you that both adults should be responsible for their sex/actions, but that’s not really what Gabrielle Blair’s article is about. She pointed out a number of subtle biases and constructs in our society that I had never realized – her insight is amazing.

    • Rachel says...

      Desiree- you are SO CLOSE to getting the point.

  26. Jeanne says...

    This goes without saying but the hypocrisy is disgusting. If life is so important to these politicians, then why not increase stricter gun control so that children won’t be killed in schools. Why not provide free birth control and healthcare access. Why not provide increased funding in education and social support for these unwanted babies often to teens and low income women. Victims of incest are often middle school aged or younger! Where is the complementary law demanding full financial support from the father of the baby?

    Most of these people sit on their high horses and think…nope that wouldn’t happen to anyone in MY family…until it does. When that happens their position suddenly changes. That happened with my die hard conservative fil.

    As Julia Louis-Dryfus said in Veep: If men got pregnant, you could get an abortion at an atm.

    • liz says...

      It’s not that they value life. Some very religious folks do, I think, and that is why they are so adamantly opposed to abortion. But once the Supreme Court recognized that the right to privacy includes the right to contraception and to end a pregnancy, women could meaningfully enter and stay in the workplace. They could rise through the ranks and obtain leadership positions that used to belong exclusively to men. And then we started demanding all this pesky stuff like freedom from harassment and abuse, equal pay, and better access to childcare. It’s so clear why Republicans, a party more aligned with the traditional patriarchy and full of misogynists, have been pushing this anti-choice agenda for decades and so very lucky that it has been such a polarizing issue among the voters. It isn’t pro life or anti choice, it’s anti-woman.

    • Whitney says...

      Liz — YES YES YES, sister!

    • Jeanne says...

      Liz: Oh I couldn’t agree more. That is the overarching issue at hand. Just one look at all the white, male politicians voting for this law (no women!) and it’s easy to see.

  27. JBM says...

    I am a new transplant to Alabama and feel like I am living in the Twilight Zone. This law will cause severe and possibly irreparable psychological distress to women who are forced to carry an embyro to term whether that be because they are not ready for a child, cannot financially care for a child, or simply do not want one. For women who have endured the trauma of rape or incest, to force them to birth a child that is the product of such trauma is unconscionable and a violation of human rights.

    • jane says...

      Well underground networks need to be set up that allow women AND GIRLS to connect to out of state options. Crowdfund That Situation.

      And write to congress and vote.

    • Rosie says...

      Jane, I don’t know what the Alabama version of that underground railroad is, but I donate to Women Have Options in Ohio. They do supporter housing and transportation, clinic defense, help women pay for abortion services, as well as offer free emergency contraception. I have a close friend from college who is an active volunteer for them, and she has helped so many people. http://www.womenhaveoptions.org/

  28. B says...

    Thanks for so thoughtfully writing about this. This is such a fraught and complex issue. I understand the diversity of strongly held views. I personally would find it very wrenching to make the decision to have an abortion. I am grateful not to have been in the position to have to choose. It is only luck that for me, birth control has been effective, and both of my pregnancies were desired. I also lost a child in an early miscarriage before I had my children. Becoming a mother has only reinforced my belief that women must have access to safe and legal abortion. Because I know what a pregnancy entails. Pregnancy can significantly affect the health and mental health of a woman. It has certainly affected mine. There are infinite variations on our stories. How can any cadre of middle aged men sweep away the intricacies of these stories? There are a thousand compelling reasons that a woman may choose not to continue a pregnancy. We must trust that no one is in a better position to make these difficult choices than the women themselves. Yes, prevent unwanted pregnancies by increasing access to contraception. And as others have suggested, consider creating a country in which we support parents with parental leave, higher wages, affordable childcare and healthcare, more flexible workplaces, better public schools, and stronger social supports. There is nothing pro-life about a government that fails to invest in children once they have been born.

    • Abbie says...

      Perfectly said, I agree with every word – especially the bit about it simply being luck that your birth control has been effective.

    • Elizabeth says...

      My thoughts exactly. Like exactly.

    • Megan says...

      B, I have many of your same personal experiences and agree so strongly with what you’ve said here!!

    • Sonja says...

      Yes! Having had a miscarriage and now a three yo son I can say with a fierce certainty that my devotion to right to choose has only increased since those experiences. Parenthood is NOT something to be entered into lightly. I have a million privileges at my feet, stable income, supportive family and partner, education, healthcare, etc. and guess what, it’s still not easy.

    • Priya says...

      That last sentence just really nails it.

  29. angela says...

    I find these laws such a contradiction. Children are dying from gun violence. Yet laws are not changed. The United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates….women are dying. Yet this is not a priority.
    As a midwife, I’ve come to realise that women, across all races, socio-economic groups and religions experience terminations. The stigma surrounding abortion stands in stark contrast to women’s obstetric histories. We simply do not talk about it and so it remains stigmatised.

    The long term health, economic and social implications of criminalising abortions are profound not just for women and their families but for the communities they make up.

    Thank you or the article CoJ.

  30. Anna says...

    I’ve been reading this blog for about 7 years, and I love a lot of the content.

    I just want to point out that 47% of women in America are pro-life and in favor of these laws. These women aren’t uninformed or anti-women, they have strong convictions and facts supporting their beliefs as well.

    In a blog that is often about motherhood and a sisterhood of women, I find it disappointing that only one political side is represented. Maybe a wider variety of opinions would make it more accessible to women of different beliefs and backgrounds, and open a true conversation. I think this is especially necessary in an increasingly polarized and hostile nation. Women who are opposed to abortion aren’t naive or oppressed, they have valid reasons too. In a spirit of true inclusion and desire to understand and represent all women, I would love to see a post from the opposite viewpoint.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you for your note! this site isn’t a national newspaper, but a personal blog which reflects my life and thoughts overall — whether it comes to recipes, dresses, movies or political points of view. i express those points clearly and rationally, and welcome an open conversation in the comments section. i hope this helps!

    • Elizabeth says...

      Anna, sorry but you are mistaken. The split is close to 50/50 of Americans as pro-life an pro-choice, but according to research 70% of Americans are strongly against these laws. This demonstrates the majority of people who identify as pro-life do so while also respecting another person’s right to choose.

      THANK YOU Joanna for the post, and perhaps in tomorrow’s round-up include statistics on this as the public is far and away against laws and bans like this.

    • K says...

      Sooooo, do you have a source for 47%? The statistics I have heard are quite different.

    • Teri says...

      Tbh pro-life women are both uninformed and anti-women. How else can you explain advocating for government to be involved in the healthcare decisions of other women? You’re essentially saying that the majority-male/nonmedical professionals of government have better judgement than a woman and her doctor, who knows her exact situation. You are welcome to be pro-life but you may not get the government involved, in fact that’s in the Constitution under the Establishment clause of the first amendment. If you don’t believe in abortion, don’t have one.

    • Anna says...

      Hi Jo! Thanks so much for your response!

      Totally get it, I’ve been reading since you were the only voice on the blog. As it’s grown, I’ve loved reading pieces from Stella, Caroline and recently Jenny!

      I think it would be cool if you even did a week of outfits or beauty uniform of someone who worked in the pro-life movement or was even a Republican (not all Republicans like Trump!).

      I guess my point is that women across the aisle love your blog too, and I think now more than ever we need to establish that as individuals we all appreciate a good wallpaper and cookie recipe even if we have radically different viewpoints. It would be nice to see a little variety – truly tolerant and feminist in its spirit of inclusion, if not in the political posts at least in the women you profile.

      Thanks so much for years of product, travel and recipe recommendations:)

      Warmly,
      Anna
      PS I started reading your blog when I was in college and re-read all of the motherhood posts when I was pregnant last year with my son. Feel like I grew up with CoJ!

    • Whitney Nelson says...

      Those women are certainly entitled to their opinion!

      But it’s important to point out that a law that supports their firm conviction won’t actually affect their life (they’ll never have an abortion, because of their conviction, so the law would never apply to them) but it’ll massively affect someone else’s. So I’m wondering why people with strong views get to make decisions for people with the opposing views? I understand this is simplifying a complex issue: but if I detest peanut butter, It would be obscene to force someone ELSE to never be able to have it. Or how outrageous would it be for your neighbor to demand to make your critical decisions about money or work or marriage even though they have no idea of what’s best for YOUR life.

      I don’t have any issue with people detesting abortion for their own lives. I have BIG issue with people using their own convictions to control the decisions of OTHER people’s lives.

    • Theresa says...

      Thanks Anna! As a pro-life and avid Cup of Jo reader, I agree that it would be really cool if CoJ profiled a pro-life woman.
      I think it is really important to see the faces behind movements. I have a lot of pro-choice friends and despite our differences we have a lot in common and truly love each other. Any movement becomes more human, more understandable when you see the people behind it.

    • Caitlin says...

      I think if someone is adamantly pro-life they should perhaps look into how they can work to reduce the maternal and infant mortality rates and the gun violence deaths (especially of children) instead of focusing on another woman’s health care. I don’t understand how we can be so focused on bringing life into the world and then not at all concerned with keeping it here?

      Not to mention how we can improve access to health care, sex education, offer paid maternity and paternity leave and affordable day care. These are the steps that will actually preserve life.

  31. Katie says...

    I think this is a result of things going too far with the recent NYC ruling that full term abortions were legalized in that state. That shocked half of america. We live in a country that is strongly divided with very opposing opinions and I believe this shows that we need to find a middle ground and agree to stay there and fine tune the middle ground. When the line keeps getting pushed too far to satisfy one side of the divide, more then the other side, you going to get knee jerk reactions like Trump being elected and this new abortion ban. We can exist together as long as we are looking for a middle ground. As soon as one side believes they need and deserve to get 100% of their opinion/desires met then there is no balance and the underdog will fight with all its might. Because as americans no one steps on our necks. So in all fairness I don’t blame the republicans I blame us democrats for pushing too hard on this one.

    • Jen says...

      Thank you for your comment. There is good points on both sides of most issues.

    • Rosie says...

      If you think that the Reproductive Health Act ruled that they can do full-term abortions you need to get your head examined . . . or read a better newspaper . . . or you could really go wild and read the actual statute. They removed restrictions to abortion when the mother’s life is at risk or if the fetus is not viable. Turn off Fox News, babe.

    • Emily says...

      Ok. Perhaps “half of America” was shocked, but maybe it was because they got their facts wrong and thought women were terminating on the cusp of giving birth to healthy newborns, which this comment also misleadingly suggests? It feels important to clarify New York State passed an law that permits abortion after 24 weeks in cases where the health of the mother is threatened or the fetus isn’t viable, so I don’t know what NYC ruling on full term abortions is being referenced here (24 weeks is still several months away from a full-term pregnancy). Basically, I can’t find evidence of what you’re claiming to have happened exists. It takes 2 seconds to do your own research.

      Even if that were true, this post literally walks through how this is part of a long game conservatives have been playing for decades. I’m frankly tired of “yes, but” arguments about abortion laws that hinge on imagined motivations and distorted facts. Can we all just pay more attention? Real human lives are being impacted by this. People with the ability to get pregnant actually have their livelihoods at stake here. No one who is trying to protect abortion rights is to “blame” for the actions of a movement that’s never acted in those interests.

  32. Sarah says...

    I’m a Brit but donated to Yellowhammer, these vile people will not win, we will overcome – whilst listening to Nina Simone singing Mississippi Goddam.

    • Alison says...

      Such a kind & simple thing to do, yet here I am crying. Thank you for your support. ❤️

    • Kristin says...

      Thank you, Sarah! An attack on one is an attack on all.

  33. Amanda says...

    Thank you for posting about this issue! So many women’s publications want to avoid talking about abortion but these bills are a massive threat to women’s health and autonomy. Thank you for speaking up.

  34. anne says...

    Thank you so much for covering this important news and covering it in such a straightforward, clear way. I can’t tell you how much I value this space and your work here.

  35. Emily says...

    Sending you and your son (and your village) so much love.

    • Emily says...

      Oh dear, this was meant to be a response to Julie’s story about choosing to have her son, but apparently I’m bad at internetting. Julie, if you see this, I think you are very brave.

  36. Kaitlyn says...

    Thank you so much CoJ for covering this, and doing it so brilliantly. It’s so hard to speak of it with a level head when it’s so upsetting, but it’s beyond important, and I’m very glad that your platform is doing it. I’m sending so much love your way today.

    Something worth listening to is The Daily’s two-part episode from back in April about this issue. They specifically looked at Missouri and Illinois, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it all since. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/17/podcasts/the-daily/abortion-missouri.html

  37. Erin says...

    Thank you so much for posting this. Well-researched and well-written.

  38. Lillian Chang says...

    THANK YOU for this post that is so thoughtfully written, straightforward, important. I love that you handle it so directly (just as you did with the post on the separation of families). These are all issues close to our hearts, and I so appreciate the way you handle them! Thank you for using your platform in this way, we love you!

  39. Sarah says...

    As someone who got an abortion in a country where it was illegal, I am keenly aware that those with the means will always ensure they can access abortion safely. It’s those who don’t have resources who will suffer, every time. I had the privilege of a safe abortion only because I could pay the 4-figure cash fee to a brave doctor in a country where the average monthly salary is under $700.

    Now pregnant with my much-loved and much-desired first child, I am constantly reminded of my privilege and only feel more deeply the misogyny inherent in any “pro-life” argument that fails to remember the life of the woman carrying the blastocyst/embryo/fetus.

    • Jennie says...

      You are a warrior Sarah. Thank you for sharing your story. Wishing you and your soon to expand family a lifetime of health, happiness and peace.

  40. JessicaM says...

    Does anyone know of statistics in other developed nations where abortion is legal? Rates of teen or unwanted pregnancies, birth control access, etc? I would love to see a comparison to the US.

    • Jennie says...

      Check out CDC and WHO and of course – Planned Parenthood.

      Knowledge is power!

    • janet metzger says...

      It’s legal and free in Israel and their abortion rights have been steadily dropping.

  41. FL says...

    Thank you for using your platform to speak out against this unthinkable law. Our generation did not live through the pain of a pre-Roe era. As a physician, the idea of my patients dying because of unsafe abortion is terrifying. As is going to prison for helping women. We all have to rally to fight this, because a MAJORITY of people do not support overturning Roe. We have to donate, protest, show up and vote.

  42. Katrina says...

    A++++++++. Thank you for taking a strong, women-focused stance.

  43. Cal says...

    I am just beyond amazed that this is somehow a political issue and how religion has infiltrated into our government for this one thing. This should not be in any arena of politics – abortions happen and they will regardless of any law or lack there of. Women need support to do what’s best for themselves and they don’t just carry a baby; it transforms their life, body, and future. Speaking personally, I have many friends that chose to have abortions because it was best for them and their futures. I don’t understand why we are banning access to abortions and penalizing women and doctors. I don’t get why this is a political issue at all. Freedom to choose should not be taken away.

    • Jess says...

      I don’t think I’d classify it as a religious issue—it’s a moral issue, like most other laws. There’s not an easy “given” answer and saying there is only reinforces the polarization.

      I wish everyone would read The Righteous Mind by psychologist Jonathan Haidt. He outlines 7 moral foundations underpinning all human civilizations, and encourages us to recognize that people who value different moral foundations are just as sincere as we are. It could help make discourse a little less condescending and a little more productive.

  44. Kathryn Farrell says...

    Thank you for addressing this issue on your blog. Your clear and concise reporting is vital for readers all over the country. Now it is time for all of us to act as others did before!

  45. lk says...

    I read this quote- with credit to the genius Gloria Steinem ” How about we treat every young man who wants to buy a gun like every woman who wants an abortion- mandatory 48 hour waiting period, parental permission, a note from his doctor proving he understands what he’s about to do, a video he has to watch about the effects of gun violence….. Lets’s close down all but one gun shop in every state and make him travel hundreds of miles, take time off work and stay overnight in a strange town to get a gun. Make him walk through a gauntlet of people holding photos of loved ones who were shot to death, people who call him a murderer and beg him not to buy a gun”- It captures my outrage at so very much of what is wrong with this nation right now. You can get a gun but you can’t have health care? Where are our priorities? It speaks to my fears as a mother for my children and their future- I know no one said this would be easy- but I did not really understand how hard parenting is- how do you explain all of this to a teenage girl? or boy? or gender non conforming child? What do I tell my children? How do I explain this? I am feeling really lost ……

    • FL says...

      EXACTLY

    • Jennie says...

      So logical – thank you for sharing.

  46. Nora says...

    What you have to think about is what the consequences are – going further than just women’s rights to their own body and choices. Birth rates will increase especially among the young, the poor and the uneducated. Thereby people will be kept poor, uneducated and working – because who has time to get an education and to question the system when you have too many mouths to feed? And who will profit from having a larger, uneducated, shackled working class? Where is the money in this? And no – an agenda like this is never about morals.

    • Marie says...

      Wow, this is comment is really reaching. Actually the US and many other European countries are entering a time where their population is actually decreasing, and it will likely have a very negative impact on the economy. Please do some research before sounding the alarm bells.

    • B says...

      Exactly. That’s what I keep trying to figure out – who is profiting from this? What is the real motivation? Is it just power for power’s sake? Is it to get things to such a horrible state that civil war breaks out? I’m just not evil enough to understand the long game here.

  47. Eva says...

    Thank you so much for addressing this issue, I was SO hoping you would! I’m outraged and sad beyond belief. It just seems to get worse every day.

  48. Thank you for posting this. I know it is can be a risky business decision to veer into politics, and I deeply appreciate you using your platform to advocate for the body autonomy and dignity of women/childbearing people.

  49. Lilly says...

    Thank you for this article! So needed! What kills me about these bills is that these are usually the same lawmakers that believe in the “pull yourself by your own bootstraps” mentality, and support all kinds of cost-cutting for safety net measures created to support families and children. And some are even pro-death penalty!

  50. Amanda says...

    Thank you, thank you for covering this. As a pediatrician, mother, sister, daughter, and friend I am outraged by this. I appreciate your level-headed approach and clear list of ways we can be involved. I often find it hard to express exactly what is at stake here and your coverage, as well as the voices shared in the comments, gets it exactly right: this is an issue that affects everyone and limiting access to or banning abortion is never, ever the answer.

  51. emily says...

    I wondered this morning when I didn’t see a post right away if there was something coming. Thank you for speaking out on the things that really matter to you. It makes this blog and community so much more authentic and is the reason you are a part of my daily routine.

    I was so nervous that reading these comments was going to fill me with rage and anxiety because it would be full of fighting, but I have to say that nearly every comment I read filled me with hope, the ones from the pro lifers especially. Thank you to the pro life COJ readers who wrote such beautiful, thoughtful responses. You have given me hope.

  52. CC says...

    So important, so thoughtful, so well written. Bravo team.

  53. A says...

    Thank you for posting this factually correct summary of the news. I can hardly believe what’s happening and am glad for the opportunity to do something productive (#donatePlannedParenthood) rather than just wringing my hands.

  54. Rini says...

    Thank you for this timely post.

  55. STEFANIE FARQUHARSON says...

    I struggle with this topic. I don’t believe in abortion but I don’t want to take rights away from anyone – especially those who have been raped. Even moreso a minor.

    However, if these laws do move forward we need to look to holding men more accountable; and not just financially. They should be required to have the child in there home/care for 50% of the time. Paying money seems like an easy out.

    • Caitlin says...

      Forcing anyone to care for a child who doesn’t want to or is unable to is cruel to the person (man or woman) and cruel to the child.

    • Lindsay says...

      What if the mother doesn’t want her child to spend time with the man, for any number of reasons? Forcing her to have a kid and then forcing her to send him or her to someone whose child she didn’t want to birth?

    • Amanda says...

      I get it. I wouldn’t have an abortion, personally.

      But the reality is that women aren’t being treated as humans if they don’t have full bodily autonomy. No amount of child support can fix that.

      We can absolutely work to reduce abortions – through good sex Ed, access to birth control, economic resources for struggling families. All of those things would allow women who do want to continue the pregnancy to do so, without taking away women’s autonomy.

      I’m glad you shared your thoughts even though we disagree. I used to be really torn on this issue too. But having seen women close to me struggle with pregnancies, abortions, and caring for infants – I just don’t think we can force women to do that unwillingly.

    • Amanda says...

      I also want to add one more thing that really affected me when I learned it. In many states, a woman who is raped and becomes pregnant may have to share custody of her child with her rapist. And that’s even if he’s convicted. Keeping in mind that most rapes are not prosecuted, and when they are it’s virtually impossible to get a conviction, requiring women to leave their child with it’s biological father may mean that a woman has to leave her child alone with her rapist.

    • L says...

      Stefanie–This is a sticky issue for many older women I know who grew up in the Bible Belt. If you don’t believe in abortion, but don’t want to take rights away from anyone then I recommend (A) continuing to support choice (because the issue of abortion is closely linked with birth control) and (B) you become a vocal advocate for comprehensive sex education, access to family planning services and affordable insurance coverage that includes birth control. Studies show that these things (sex ed, access to family planning services, and coverage for birth control) reduce abortions. I hope this is helpful!

    • Molly says...

      As a former prosecutor who handled domestic violence and child abuse cases, I assure you that you do not want men caring for children when they are forced to.

    • KL says...

      Stehanie, thank you for posting this. Supporting access to abortions and not personally believing in abortion are not mutually exclusive, and I think a lot of people forget that. You don’t have to want something for yourself, but that doesn’t mean you have to deny the right to someone else to have it. I respect your view, though it differs from mine.

    • Jessica says...

      @Molly—horrifying thought. Thanks for what you do, sorry for what you’ve seen ?

  56. annie says...

    so grateful you posted about this today. i’m so angry about this. and i just wanted to say: next election day, don’t you dare stay home because you don’t feel like voting or because ‘all politicians are alike’ or ‘it doesn’t matter.’ this right here is why it MATTERS.

    • AJ says...

      Thank you, thank you! Elections have consequences….

  57. Meghan says...

    Thanks, Joanna. Canadians are behind you <3

    • Lina says...

      As a Canadian and Ontarian, I am afraid that pro-choice is something we will have to fight to keep. Doug Ford is making our part of the world a difficult place to live.

  58. Lucy says...

    Thank you, Cup of Jo! I wish I could make this post—and all the comments—required reading.

  59. Elizabeth says...

    Thanks so much for sharing this….I just donated to Yellowhammer. A small way to help the women who will suffer the most from this insane new law. xo

  60. Gina says...

    I’m a lifelong democrat, but I actually support this bill. I truly believe—and think that there’s enough scientific evidence to back this up—that an unborn baby is a human from the moment of conception. So I want to protect and give women the right to choose, but that includes unborn women.

    • Taylor says...

      You support imprisoning women for aborting fetuses? You support imprisoning doctors?

    • R says...

      Gina, giving the state the power to force a woman to remain pregnant against her will, regardless of the (potential) sex of that embryo or fetus, is in no way respecting women’s right to choose. If you support this bill, you do not support women’s right to choose. You cannot have it both ways.

    • Eloise says...

      So, no, you don’t want to protect a woman’s right to choose, which is “fine,” (not really, but….)!but be honest w/yourself.

    • Eloise says...

      And what procedures, policies has this bill put in place to help “protect” the women and children involved here, both before and after birth? Create/implement them first and then revisit the abortion issue. Done this way, it’s a cruel mess.

    • agnes says...

      The thing is, law exist to sove problems and when abortion is illegal, women die because illegal abortion doesn’t mean that abortion disappears. It becomes illegal, dangerous, un safe, mortal. Data has shown that the best way to avoid abortion is to educate and let anticonceptive be easily available. I hope your country will find a reasonnable solution to this health issue.

    • L says...

      Agreed! And also agree with CoJ that we need better sex education and accessible pregnancy prevention/birth control resources. Bridging the gap is key to ensuring women are respected, heard, and in control of their own lives.

    • Anna says...

      But Gina, how can this law help the “unborn women” choose if they live their lives under laws like this that don’t allow them to choose? I’m not sure I understand. If you just meant it to be a pithy line and I’m reading too much into it, okay.

    • annie says...

      so… you’re pro-choice for unborn women but not really for women who were born at any point in the past? i.e. women who are currently walking the earth? it’s illogical arguments like this that seriously gall me. they seem to be willfully ignorant and blissfully out of touch.

    • Kelly says...

      So where is the bill providing free childcare and food for all these babies that you care so strongly for? The hypocrisy seriously astounds me.

      (On a side note I feel like these types of comments are written by internet trolls, I can’t believe any COJ reader would believe such nonsense.)

    • Rachel says...

      Gina, I am curious – do the eggs we expel during our periods count as unborn men/women? Should men consider every drop of semen to be unborn men/women? Where does it end? Am I currently pre-pregnant?

      Why can’t you and your ilk understand that choice is the key word – your choice to not opt for an abortion, someone else’s choice to procure one when necessary? You have the word ‘choose’ in your comment… But you don’t understand what it means.

      We may disagree but here’s the difference: I’ll always fight for your human rights and I would never support or vote for stripping your personal autonomy from you.

    • MD says...

      Would you be willing to share the scientific evidence that backs this up? I’ve been a practicing physician for nearly twenty years, and I’ve never seen any scientific evidence to support this belief.

    • Liz says...

      I don’t think this is about scientific evidence – this is about values and what we consider “human.” Considering the fetus to be a human is a Christian value, and as a Jewish woman who’s faith dictates that a woman’s life is more valuable than a fetus’s until birth, I resent being forced into this Christian belief system. This is a separation of Church and State issue.

    • Kristin says...

      No, “science” says no such thing. Your faith or religion may be your reason for believing that human life starts at conception, and it’s your right to hold that belief, but you are absolutely wrong about the science bit. Also, there’s a lot of circular logic in saying you want to protect the unborn baby’s right to choose someday, although logic probably isn’t the right word for me to use.

    • Ann says...

      Gina, as a lifelong democrat, I would recommend taking a real good look at the people that support this bill and see if these are the type people you align your values with. It is everyone’s responsibility to education themselves and read scientific literature form BOTH sides of the issue.

    • carolina says...

      If you could reference peer reviewed articles published in reputable scientific journals that support your contention that a cluster of cells is a human that would be awesome. That’s how science works you need validated and reproducible data accepted by the community. Otherwise its not scientific data – its just stuff you read on the internet and that doesn’t count. Believe what you want and take away women’s rights if that is the future you wish for but do not frame as if you’ve extensively studied scientific tomes and you really believe in a woman’s autonomy.

    • Amanda says...

      It is interesting that you’re referencing scientific evidence but don’t point to anything specific. If any of your “evidence” comes from a prolife organization, it’s false – they’ve been lying, distorting science, and trying to pump out fake anti-abortion studies for years. The reality is that as long as a fetus is not visible outside of a woman’s body, it’s part of her body and so it’s up to her to decide what to do with it.

    • A says...

      I agree Gina.

    • Jessica says...

      I agree with you, Gina. But you have to be a brave soul to stand behind that opinion here. This is a complex problem – I don’t know how anyone can deny that there aren’t at least shades of gray. What about the the selective abortion of girls in the womb, which is a significant issue in countries like India and China? What about the debate concerning female homicide? I am a staunch feminist, but feminists want nothing to do with me when they learn that – politics and religion aside – I can’t shake the belief that taking a life is wrong, no matter how hard I try.
      This is another sad example of utter polarization that is happening in this country, and this among women. When we can’t even hear another point of view we court grave risks – surely recent political events have taught us that much…

    • amy says...

      Amanda, your comment took my breath away with its absurdity.

      “The reality is that as long as a fetus is not visible outside of a woman’s body, it’s part of her body and so it’s up to her to decide what to do with it.”

      Talk about ignoring basic biology!

    • Jessica says...

      Should read “fetal homicide” – sorry

  61. j.d. says...

    thank you so much for this…i’m almost paralyzed with fear about what is going on right now. thank you for breaking this down so clearly and for noting ways to get involved.

  62. L says...

    One of the things that kills me about this law is that the same people who support it because they are so “pro life” are the very same people who have supported family separation and locking children in cages. You cannot have it both ways!

    Naively, never did I think that the government would attempt to control my rights and ethics as a physician (not to mention as a woman), though it has clearly been trying to do exactly that for many years.

    WE WILL NOT GO BACK. I look forward to the many protests, marches, and movements to come.

  63. Cheryl says...

    Once again, I applaud the spotlight in the direction of prevention and have to point out that condoms are unreliable and male partners can secretly remove them, leaving women at risk. My gyro recently prescribed a pill to me that cost $125 per pack without prescription coverage.
    I walked into a pharmacy on vacation in St John, usvi and bought a years supply of the same generic pill for $3.25 per pack. Women have the ability to make much much better choices when they’re affordable, readily available and totally in our control! Why oh why should it be so hard to access what we need in this twisted up country?

    • Julie says...

      Woah I am ASTONISHED thats how much birth control pills can cost in the USA! I’m in New Zealand, and here you would get a prescription for 6 months from your doctor and it would cost you $5 to fill the whole prescription – or if you go to a pharmacy thats inside one of our major supermarket chains, or a couple of the other “low cost” pharmacies – they fill them for free! Also if you are under 25 you can go to see a family planning doctor for free so for young people the whole process is free or super cheap. And then if you do get pregnant your doctors visits are free too, and for the child they are free until age 14.
      That being said, abortion is still technically not totally legal here – you have to visit two different doctors and be assessed that it would be damaging to your mental health to have the baby before you can get the go ahead.

    • Julia says...

      This is what drives me bonkers! Republicans are obsessed with defunding planned parenthood… but federal law already prohibits federal money going to abortions. Any federal money going to planned parenthood is solely used for birth control and other women’s health. If someone wants to stop abortions, they should support maxing out federal money to planned parenthood, because all that money goes to educating and supporting women in avoiding unplanned pregnancy (and also STIs, which from a pubic health perspective seems like another, duh, this is a good thing, outcome). For many people birth control is prohibitivly expensive, changing that should be a huge priority. If we’re not going full single payer healthcare, why not address the one issue everyone agrees on – it would be best if no one was in the difficult position of wanting an abortion in the first place. So infuriating!

  64. Loren says...

    Hi, Jo – another great organization to include is ARC – Southeast, which works specifically in southern states to make reproductive care safe, accessible, and affordable. https://www.arc-southeast.org/

    Thank you for this post!

  65. IN says...

    Thank you so much for talking about this! Living in Belgium, I cannot believe what’s happening in America. A doctor who performs a safe abortion is punished harder than a rapist who creates an unwanted child??? It’s just unbelievable.

    Also: I saw a picture; only male senators voted on this? It’s not fair they get to decide over something that does not affect them one bit. Will they look after all the unaborted children after pregnancy then?

    This makes me so mad!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we cannot believe it here, either!

    • Adley says...

      So well said…”punished harder than a rapist”….

    • Lacey says...

      Just if clarification was needed: it was not only men that voted. All the 25 yes votes were from male senators. It is worth noting that 4 male senators voted no along with 2 female senators – 2 other men and 2 other women did not vote/abstained (would love to know why). So, there were a few good men there. But sadly, only a few.

      https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/15/politics/alabama-abortion-ban-bill-who-voted/index.html

    • Lauren says...

      Yes, only male senators voted on this but their FEMALE governor signed it.

  66. Mouse says...

    I had an abortion at 19, I am childless at 59, I don’t regret it at all. It’s not PC to say this, but I will: My life as a fully adult human woman is worth more than a non-viable fetus. That’s how I feel. That’s what this is about–about women being able to be not the same, but equal, with the equal right to make their own mistakes and their own decisions. ESPECIALLY about their own body and the cells inside it. Many men are fundamentally afraid of women in many ways, and this is about CONTROL. This is about making the world a place where they feel they have control again–where women don’t work, take all the responsibility for the children and household, and don’t make important decisions. If that’s a life you want, you can absolutely choose it. You may not choose it for me.

    • L says...

      Hell yes.

      Any woman’s decision(s) must be hers and hers alone and we will continue to fight for exactly that.

    • Kate says...

      Yes.

    • Kate says...

      Given that most people in the US support choice, I think it IS politically correct to say that! And I agree with you!

    • Alexandra says...

      Yes. I have never had an abortion, and have two children, but this decision should be solely the pregnant woman’s, not the decision of politicians. Provide fee contraception to women, that would be a very first step to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

    • Many men are fundamentally afraid of women. Yes. to. this.
      If men were the ones getting pregnant, what a different decision this would be.

    • Summer says...

      Thank you so much for saying this, Mouse. I’ve never had an abortion, but know many who have who feel the same way.

    • stacey says...

      “My life as a fully adult human woman is worth more than a non-viable fetus.”
      HELL YES!!

    • Nakisha Smith says...

      You covered it all! Bravo!

    • Kristin says...

      Yes! Well said.

  67. Kim says...

    I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but what does Senator Chambliss propose if the child who has been raped has been raped by their own parent?

    • Lacey says...

      mental health counseling I am guessing. Barf. (I am a mental health counselor)

  68. Jules says...

    The fact that a female signed this into law makes it even more reprehensible and cruel.

  69. Theresa says...

    I have been a long-time CoJ reader and always love your content. Wanted to add another pro-life and pro-woman comment to this discussion. The argument that has always compelled me is that what it means to be human is to have full personhood and full human rights. These rights are not taken away from you if you are smaller, less mobile, handicapped, disabled, a different skin color, or a different gender. The greatest human rights violations in human history stem from the flawed idea that some human beings are less valuable, are less of a person because they lack certain qualities. If an unborn child is a human being, then by his or her very nature he or she has full personhood and full human rights that we must defend. I hope and pray for a culture that values life at all stages and embraces and supports women who find themselves in crisis pregnancies.

    • mouse says...

      All the things you describe–and I have a mentally handicapped sister–are qualities of BORN people. A fetus is not a person. It’s a human fetus, but it is not a person. It is important to make distinctions.

    • Sid says...

      “If unborn child is a human being” – they aren’t. Full stop. A fetus/embryo is not a human being. Also, you can’t be pro-woman and support laws that are INTENDED to cause direct harm to women.

    • Anna says...

      Hi Theresa, obviously it’s a complicated, sensitive, and difficult distinction, but one way to look at it is that a fetus who is physiologically dependent on a woman to be viable, can be viewed differently from those who are “smaller, less mobile, handicapped, disabled, a different skin color, or a different gender”, etc. If you cannot breathe, swallow, circulate blood inside your body, intake sustenance without relying on the woman’s body and organs, then the woman’s autonomy takes precedence. I believe that is the rationale behind many people who support the right for a woman to choose an abortion to draw a line for that choice once a fetus is viable outside of the woman’s body.

    • Meg says...

      Hi Theresa. How do you feel about the fact that the data shows that making abortion illegal, does not actually decrease the number of abortions, but just makes them less safe? Unsafe abortions cause women to be injured and to die. I understand that you believe in life from the moment of conception, but what do you propose we do about the fact that history shows that women will seek out abortions whether they are legal or not? The legality does not determine the frequency, just the safety, of abortions.

    • Elizabeth says...

      Yay, pro women! Will you be “embracing and supporting” i.e. adopting and raising your share of the babies then? The 11–year old incest victims, for example, that baby, among all the thousands of others, are going to need a good home… you sound so very nurturing and thoughtful..

    • sarah young says...

      It is a fetus, not a baby. Pro-life people use the wrong language when describing the narrative. For example, Stop calling them “heartbeat” bills and call them “fetal pole cardiac activity” bills.

      and this human you speak of is inside someones body. they own that body, they make the decisions about what happens to it.

      https://drjengunter.com/2016/12/11/dear-press-stop-calling-them-heartbeat-bills-and-call-them-fetal-pole-cardiac-activity-bills/?fbclid=IwAR2fpH103aSTXgFMKduQckTZF4lTpqWog6vZTJ2iN8lKFIlnP6t-74jucsw/

    • cinnamon says...

      Acorns are not trees, eggs are not chickens.

    • Meghan says...

      Theresa, thank you for your courage in voicing your stance on this issue. I believe (based on science/biology/faith/my own personal experience in giving birth to my two children, etc.) that life begins at the moment of conception. Labeling the stages of personhood (embryo, fetus, etc.) does not mean that the child is NOT a person. We continue to label stages of personhood after birth: newborn, infant, baby, toddler, preschooler, etc. The one question that I always reflect on is: if life (and personhood and human rights) does NOT begin at conception, then when does it begin? And who has the right to decide that?

      With regards to the rape/incest question, I 100% believe that those are horrific crimes that should never have happened, and the perpetrator should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But, an unborn child should not pay the price for these crimes. Similarly, society cannot choose when to acknowledge unborn children or not (i.e. grieve when there is a miscarriage or a pregnant woman is killed by violence, but then also support the choice to have an abortion).

      I love the last line of the comment above that says we hope for “a culture that values life at all stages and embraces and supports women who find themselves in crisis pregnancies.”

    • Anna says...

      Thank you, Theresa!! Longtime reader here too-I agree with you 100%, well put.

      I pray for our culture too, laws don’t change people’s hearts. We need to change the culture.

    • Roxana says...

      Theresa and Meghan, thank you both for your courage in articulating your (and my) position so well (especially on this platform)! I agree with you 1000%!

    • NN says...

      @ Meghan: Just one question then, you say “I 100% believe that those are horrific crimes that should never have happened, and the perpetrator should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But, an unborn child should not pay the price for these crimes. ”
      So the victim i.e. the girl should pay the price for it by becoming a mom forcefully, and possibly even dying due to the pregnancy? It astounds me that in your description of horrific crimes and those you hope are brought to justice you leave the victim completely out of the discussion. What happens to her? If you can elaborate on a plan to help them, it would enlighten us all.

    • Gretchen says...

      Thank you, Theresa, for your eloquence and bravery in supporting a dissenting opinion. I am also a longtime CoJ reader; I have always appreciated that the editors/writers provide space for conversation and promote civil dialogue among diverse reader perspectives. It is my hope they would encourage the same here.

    • Karen says...

      Well said. I feel the same. And thanks for having the courage.

    • Kelsey says...

      Thank you Theresa! And Meghan who commented below. I agree 100% with both of you. Long time reader here who values ALL human lives, not just the ones that have already been born. We all have a purpose, even if we weren’t wanted. It is terrible to think of a baby being the product of rape, or incest, but I do not believe that ending that babies life brings any justice to the mother.

    • Laura says...

      Meghan, your comment regarding how our society grieves miscarriages, but then also fully supports abortions is the part that I have the most difficulty with in terms of advocating for abortions.
      Why do we champion ending a pregnancy at 7 weeks in articles like this, but mourn pregnancies that end at 7 weeks in articles like this: https://cupofjo.com/2015/11/miscarriage-stories/

      It is hard to understand why people think it can be both ways. Either an abortion is purposefully ending a life, or a miscarriage isn’t something that we should bother grieving because it’s ‘just a fetus, not a life’.

      I personally do not support abortion practises, yet I realize that it is not as simple as making it illegal for it to stop. I would love to see funding increase for sex education and access to birth control, as well as higher minimum wage and support for parents post birth of children. The US also needs to up their game with maternity/paternity/parental leave support. Those supports would be a slow beginning to actually ending abortions.

    • Tis says...

      Well, Theresa, I certainly never expected to agree with a pro-lifer, but here we are. You’re right, this is a human rights issue: MY BODY IS MY OWN. No one will make a decision about my body but me.

    • Molly says...

      As I sit here and feel my unborn baby wiggling inside me, I completely agree. If not at conception, when? And why? When the baby could live on its own outside the womb? But what if our technology changes and that gets moved earlier? It seems to me that in the pro-choice view it’s a baby if you WANT it to be and it’s not if you don’t. That just isn’t logical.

    • Jen says...

      Thank you Theresa and Meghan for your articulate and thoughtful comments. I wish I had those words.

    • Caroline says...

      I agree with you, Theresa. And it can be frustrating to enter into debate when it feels like people are just talking at each other.

      I highly recommend checking out 40 Days for Life (https://40daysforlife.com/) and looking for ways to get involved or support outreach groups in your community.

      Also, check out the book “Unplanned,” by Abby Johnson. The author was a director of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, TX and is now a leader in the pro-life movement.

    • Roxana says...

      Tis, the “my body, my choice” argument is incredibly weak.

      The law does indeed make decisions about what you can or cannot do with your body, and it should. For example, if you were to choose to use your arms, hands and fingers to strangle someone to death you would (very likely) be breaking the law and would/should be prosecuted. If you were to use your foot to press the gas pedal of a car and then your arms and hands to steer that car into an enemy, you would be making a choice (using your body) to end the life of another person, and would/should be prosecuted. This is why your body would end-up in jail. You made choices with your body that affected others. That ended their lives, which are (hopefully) protected by the law. Additionally, you do not live in a vacuum.

      “My body, my choice” just doesn’t cut it. Never mind that in the vast majority of instances, a man’s body was also a part of bringing a life into your womb, so his body should have a say in what happens with that life. It should be his choice too (admittedly, it often is).

    • Meghan says...

      @NN: Thank you for your follow-up comment on what I posted. I did not intentionally mean to leave any victims of rape/incest (who become pregnant as a result) out of my thoughts. And, I would never claim to have all the answers to how to solve or grapple with the evil in this world. My heart breaks every time I see a story about sexual assault/child abuse/sex trafficking, and I grieve about what continues to happen in our country and around the world, where innocent lives are preyed upon. I

      I would simply go back to my basic questions of: 1) when does life/personhood/human rights begin? and 2) who has the ultimate right to decide that? Somehow, there has to be justice for the offenders AND protection for the innocents (both born and unborn). And, I want to do everything in my power as a woman, mother, and teacher to fight for justice and support the innocent.

    • Charlene says...

      Theresa is absolutely right! For all those who are drawing neat distinctions about who a person is or isn’t, I would strongly recommend reading a bit more history. I really think that if pro-choice apologists looked at some of the rhetoric of the past, they’d be surprised at just how much their arguments sound like those of slave-owners in the Antebellum South, or Nazis in the 1930s. In the words of the surprisingly wise Dr Seuss, a “person’s a person no matter how small.” Abortion is murder, and it should be illegal in all situations, except when the mother’s life is in danger. Jo says that prohibiting abortion won’t reduce abortions. (She’s wrong about this, but let’s assume she’s right). Traditionally, philosophers have argued that laws are not just about prohibiting behavior, they’re about sending a strong moral message. “Law is a tutor to virtue,” is the old-fashioned adage in jurisprudence for the concept. We, as a modern, civilized and life-affirming society, need to send a clear message that abortion is wrong, and it cannot be tolerated.

    • Meghan says...

      P.S. – If anyone hasn’t heard about International Justice Mission, please check out their website (https://www.ijm.org/). They are the largest anti-slavery organization in the world and they are doing an AMAZING job of fighting for justice AND supporting the innocent.

    • Monica says...

      Thank you for this comment, Theresa! I believe that you can be pro-life and pro-woman, and hope that others can come to see the same.

    • E says...

      Meghan and Laura, the distinction between a miscarriage and an abortion is this:

      When a woman grieves after a miscarriage, she is mourning the unexpected end of a hoped-for pregnancy and the loss of the eventual baby she had expected to meet at the end of it.

      An abortion is a medical procedure that results in the termination of a crisis pregnancy. A pregnancy becomes a crisis when it presents a health risk to the woman; when the fetus is diagnosed with a condition incompatible with life or an anomaly that will result in a life full of medical trauma; when the pregnancy is a product of sexual violence; when the pregnancy puts the woman’s future at risk, whether because she is experiencing financial hardship or simply is not ready for the responsibility of raising a child.

      We can empathize with the woman who experiences a sudden and unwanted loss of pregnancy, while still supporting the woman who chooses to seek medical care to end a crisis pregnancy. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    • Giselle says...

      Dear Theresa,
      I really always wonder why so many people feel responsible for the rights of fetuses but nobody feels responsible for the children born into the most difficult of circumstances. Imagine you’d had a childhood with no one who really took care of you or loved you, bumbling from foster family to foster family. Such a childhood is devastating. Please do not only fight for fetuses but for the children and their futures. Please fight for children who had a childhood like mine. See the entire picture and the entire life of the beings you are fighting and pleading for, please.

  70. LBD says...

    Thank you CoJ Team. Your voice is essential. Love from Quebec, Canada.

  71. Julie says...

    I got pregnant my junior year of college as the result of a rape. I was raised by a very pro-life, conservative, Catholic family. I have memories of praying the rosary with my family outside of an abortion clinic. I was raised to think that abortion is wrong, sinful, awful. I wasn’t part of those groups that hurl hurtful words associating abortion to murder, although I saw them. We were peaceful protesters, quietly kneeling alongside the tree lawn. Since I was a kid then, heavily influenced by my families and churches beliefs, I never really considered the emotions of those walking into the clinics, and so I thought what we were doing was fine. I also LOVED babies so that was pretty much my reasoning for why I was so pro-life for so long. Fast forward to when I found out I was pregnant. It was just a few weeks before I was supposed to go to Asia to study abroad. At that point, the PTSD and anxiety had not hit me yet from the trauma, as the brain does wondrous works to protect you. I told a few, trusted friends and two Moms I was nannying for before I left. One had been through an abortion herself at my age. A friend’s older sister offered to pay for my abortion if I wanted one. Secretly I just cried and prayed I’d have a miscarriage. I jetted off to Asia and continued my prayers for a miscarriage with no avail. Ultimately, I left my study abroad program and flew home, choosing to stay pregnant and to begin to battle my growing anxiety and depression. I pressed charges against my accuser, albeit unsuccessfully, but that’s another story. I now have a beautiful son who will be graduating preschool next week. The main reason I chose life was because I nannied my way through school and I couldn’t imagine holding other families’ babies when I chose to give up mine (whether abortion or adoption). I was so scared of the possibility of never being able to have a child again, as I’ve witnessed so many women close to me face infertility. I will never answer the question would I go through what I did again, but seeing laws like this in Alabama and Ohio with the heartbeat bills (where I’m from) getting passed without a regard for those so traumatically affected is stomach-churning. Just knowing I had that option even if I didn’t choose it is comforting. Even if the pregnancy isn’t the result of rape or incest, women still should have the choice to proceed how best for them. You can be vehemently against something, but until you’re REALLY in those shoes, can you know how it feels. So sick of seeing these men who probably haven’t been raped, and definitely haven’t been pregnant as a result of it, making decisions on this. Shout-out to my village that have gotten my son and I to a point of happiness and acceptance in our lives. He will be raised to fight for what’s right, to respect women (and men alike!), and to sympathetically ask what it’s like if he can’t put himself in someone’s shoes. Xoxo CoJ.

    • Lucy says...

      Julie, thank you for sharing your story. I applaud you for making the decision that was right for you at the time, and equally applaud your ability to keep your heart and mind open to what others may experience in a similar situation. If only we could all be so wise and so brave.

    • Summer says...

      Thank you so much for your comment, Julie. The thing about being pro-choice is that it really is just that – choice!

  72. Rebecca says...

    Thank you for posting this, Joanna. I had an abortion two years ago. I feel guilty because I am (and was) an able-bodied, financially-stable woman who should have been able to care for a child, if I absolutely needed to. I feel guilty because there are so many woman who struggle to conceive, and my partner and I did so accidentally. I feel guilty because my abortion was so much less traumatic for me than it must be for women who abort their fetuses because they are severely disabled and will not have a good quality of life. The truth is, my partner and I were not ready for a child and the decision to carry through with our pregnancy would have ruined our relationship and the life we were trying to build. We are now married, secure in our lives, and ready to start a family. I know in my heart that our situation now would have been so negatively affected by having that baby. I am so grateful that I had the choice to do what was best for me and my (future) family. I am so ready to fight for this right for all women, and now I’m armed to do so with the information provided in this article! Thank you so much.

    • C says...

      Don’t feel guilty. Your body, your choice. Thank you for sharing <3

    • Liz says...

      Thank you for sharing your story and please don’t feel guilty. I have friends in the same situation who made the same choice. You are not alone.
      You are standing on the shoulders of strong women who fought for your right to make this choice, and now you can be that strong women who fights for others who will one day need to make this same choice <3

    • jane says...

      Release the guilt. You were not ready, and that is more than enough.

    • Caitlin says...

      Thank you for sharing this personal story,

    • Nakisha Smith says...

      You do not need to feel any guilt. As much as we mourn along with those women, our choices, either way, do not affect their reality.

    • Cyd says...

      Rebecca- YOU are important. Prioritizing your health, your life, and your relationship is nothing to feel guilty about. It takes more than being “financially-stable” and “able-bodied” to raise a child. You knew your capabilities and you made the best choice for your life. Never apologize for that. We support you 100%.

  73. Mandy says...

    thank you for posting on this and for taking a stand!

  74. Emma says...

    Thank you so much Joanna, and CoJ team, for addressing this issue so thoughtfully and pointing us to organizations that are helping. This is a scary time and we all need to use our voices to be heard.

  75. Tovah Close says...

    Thank you. This is insane.

  76. Abesha1 says...

    Joanna, please correct, in the 2nd section: what can be detected at approximately 6 weeks pregnancy is called “fetal pole cardiac activity.” It is NOT a heartbeat; there is no heart yet. Technically it isn’t even a fetus yet, it is an embryo.

    Repeating this trope plays into the hands of those who are using it against us. Please say, “so-called heartbeat bills” and use the correct terminology in your explanation in parentheses.

    Thank you for covering this important issue!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, thank you!!!!

    • L says...

      Yeeeeessssssss!!! As a physician, it enrages me to see this blatant misinformation repeated ad nauseam.

    • Erin says...

      THANK YOU, ABESHA1!

  77. Jess says...

    THANK YOU for posting this. Simple, straight forward and thought provoking call to action.

  78. mb says...

    Missouri is also on their way to passing the after-6-week abortion ban.

    As someone who has not been pregnant, I also learned something that makes the 6-week ban even more troubling:
    Pregnancy weeks are NOT counted from the moment of conception. They are counted since a woman’s last period. So, if you had your period, say February 1st it means you were ovulating on Feb. 14th. Say you miss your period on Feb. 28th. By that point, you are considered to be 4 weeks pregnant (even though you had sex and your egg was fertilized two weeks ago). Thus, EVEN IF you are hyper-regular and on a 28-day cycle, you would find yourself scrambling in the span of two-weeks time to get confirmation about the pregnancy, find money, make arrangements for the appointment and your work schedule to get an abortion.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      YES!!!

  79. Kelsey says...

    Donated to NARAL just now because of your post! Thank you for your work <3

  80. Kym says...

    Not being in agreement with abortion doesn’t make anyone pro-life. I wish the people calling themselves pro-life would have a reality check and call themselves what they are: anti-choice. I had an abortion at 23 and it was the best thing ever. It was a safe, boring procedure that left me feeling cared for and far less afraid of what my future held. I’m so happy I had one. Thank you for this post.

  81. Amy says...

    As much as I personally disagree with abortion in most situations (for moral reasons), I’m against making it illegal. Like others say, banning abortions rarely prevents them. In fact, countries that have made abortion legal have seen a dramatic decrease in abortions over the decades because mothers aren’t having and raising babies in bad situations, who then have a much higher likelihood of also having babies in bad situations and on it goes. Not to mention the importance of the separation of church and state. If Jesus wanted Christians (including me) to run the world and tell everyone what to do, surely he would’ve taken a different tactic during his time on earth! Standing outside abortion clinics with signs shaming women isn’t improving anything.

    • Laura says...

      YES!

    • A says...

      As a Christian, I almost totally agree with you and feel
      much the same way. The bigger problem is , in so many cases including my own, the decision is made quickly in a panic , like me at 19. – my thinking was “shit, my parents will kill me. I need to end this “ Now I’m
      Wiser and older and wish I had know better. It’s truly a culture of death . We as women are better then that .

  82. Katherine says...

    Thank you for using your platform to fight during this scary time.

  83. Daisy says...

    I got pregnant after we had used condom(condom broke) and taking Plan B the next day. Contraceptives do fail and couples should have a choice whether or not they want to bring a baby at that point in their life.

  84. Kate says...

    I read once that women have abortions because they WANT to be good mothers, and realize that for any number of reasons, this isn’t the time. I’ve worked in reproductive and sexual health for decades now and come back to that quote often. This ban is terrifying and I’m afraid of all the undue medical problems to come from botched abortions. Thank you for using your platform on this issue!

  85. Kate says...

    Thank you, COJ – you are doing great work.

  86. Erin says...

    With the amount of blank women who are dying in childbirth (seriously, read about it!) and the demographics of Alabama, the consequences of this bill will result in the deaths of so many black woman. Make no mistake: this is not an accident. I am horrified and scared for all women, but especially women of colour. Sending love to all women who, whether they know it or not, will be affected by this, especially women of colour.

    • Nakisha Smith says...

      Black women (I am one!) are 3-4x more likely to die from childbirth than white women. And it’s been that way for A CENTURY.

      I personally know one mom who died days after delivering her son (they sent her home without checking out her concerns) and two close friends who nearly died following delivery.

      They do not care about LIFE. It’s all political posturing.

    • Elisabeth says...

      You’re right. This is absolutely about maintaining white supremacy. If it were about children, Alabama would be prioritizing healthcare for children, subsidized education for parents and preschool for children, housing, subsidized childcare, equal rights and equal pay. But they aren’t.

  87. Laura says...

    Thank you. So scared, sad and angry for our daughter’s future.

  88. Meg says...

    I just donated to the National Network of Abortion funds, thank you for the suggestion. This was a well-written, smart and factual post on a heated topic. Well done.

  89. Alanna says...

    Thank you for posting about this! I can’t believe we are here fighting for this. It’s a real life Handmaids Tale. The men who voted this bill into law can’t even get a women’s simple anatomy correct. They don’t give a single care about life, it’s about CONTROL. This is infuriating and we will keep fighting.

  90. Sarah says...

    Interesting that they legislate what we as women can do with our bodies, but only “hope” that a victim will get the mental health help she needs. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

    Side note: Just donated to Planned Parenthood in “honor” of Alabama Rep. Terri Collins, one of the most outspoken sponsors of this atrocious bill.

  91. Amanda says...

    Having personally had an abortion, this law is weighing so heavily on my right now. I know all they are trying to do is drum up an overturn of Roe v. Wade now that the Supreme Court leans conservative, and it makes me absolutely sick.

    Having an abortion was one of the hardest decisions of my life, and I don’t really think any woman takes it lightly, whatever the reason for the procedure. I was at a point in my life where my fiancee and I were struggling for money and barely making ends meet, and about to embark on professional careers, when I had mine. That being said, I don’t think that any woman should have to provide context or reasoning for why she had an abortion. However, I think women like me, who are capable of having a viable and healthy pregnancy, who are young and got pregnant with their long-term partner, and yet choose to have an abortion, are often dismissed as just choosing the easy way out. So I will stress again: it was NOT an easy choice for me.

    I cried a lot before I went to the clinic. I cried a lot at the clinic. I weighed the options over and over in my head. I was scared and I was alone – my fiancee wasn’t allowed in the back and so the only hand I could hold through the painful procedure was a nurse who, although a stranger, had only compassion to give.

    I will never regret having my abortion. This doesn’t mean that sometimes I don’t stop and think about how old my child would have been. It also doesn’t mean I shout from the rooftops saying everyone should have one. It is a personal choice that I was thankful for the opportunity and the right to have, and that I can’t imagine NOT having. It makes me absolutely terrified to think that other women won’t have the same ability to make their own choices about their own bodies, in the United States, in the 21st century.

    • Kate says...

      Thank you for sharing.

    • Elizabeth says...

      This is so powerfully written. My experience was very similar, and I have no regrets.

    • Sasha L says...

      Love to you Amanda.

    • Jen says...

      “That being said, I don’t think any woman should have to provide context or reasoning for why she had an abortion.” Love these true words. Love to you <3

    • Roxy says...

      So beautifully put. Thanks for sharing ❤️

    • Whitney says...

      Ditto.Ditto.Ditto.

  92. Meredith says...

    What kills me is the amount of resources that are spent re-hashing this issue when there are SO MANY other issues. I just want abortion to be safe, legal, and accessible. The decision should be between a woman and her partner and/or doctor. THAT’S IT. Imagine if we re-directed the funding and time spent on abortion to, I don’t know, preventing unwanted pregnancies how much more productive that would be.

    • Caitlin says...

      Omg SAME! It’s like political “Groundhog’s Day.” We could address so many actual pressing problems (cough, mass shootings, cough climate change) if we spent half as much time on them as we do on rehashing abortion rights.

    • annie says...

      absolutely agreed.

    • Laura says...

      So true!

  93. Lourdes says...

    Thank you, Joanna and the Cup of Jo team. Abortion is a woman’s choice and ONLY her choice.

    • L says...

      Regardless of where you stand on abortion, the hypocrisy of so many of our elected leaders is astounding. We need laws that truly hold criminals accountable for sexual assault.

  94. Amanda says...

    Thank you!

    • Dal says...

      That is a great thread that I did not see coming from Design Mom!

  95. Lauren E. says...

    Thank you for posting such a level headed article. All I feel is rage.

    • Sarah says...

      Same, girl. Same.

  96. Marney says...

    To commenters who are “pro-life”, please understand this is just step one in taking away women’s rights. If you think it will stop at abortion, you are wrong. The old white men are terrified of losing their power, and they will do anything to keep it.

    It’s so important to support a woman’s right to make decisions about her body, in all circumstances, regardless of how you feel about abortion.

    • Elizabeth says...

      Exactly this! It is all about control over women.

    • Meg says...

      Yes- thank you! The terminology needs to change surrounding this topic- Its not Pro-life vs. Pro-abortion. Its Pro-choice vs. Anti-choice.

      Additionally, there shouldn’t need be a list of justifications to make abortion a “worthy” option- it is enough that a uterus-haver (and possibly their doctor) makes that choice for themselves.

  97. Thank you for speaking up and speaking out on this important topic. It’s humane to deny autonomy over one’s own body. Many factors go into the decision to have an abortion and it’s a decision best left to the pregnant person and their doctor.

    • *inhumane

  98. carolina says...

    You are my get away from serious life site – a little break from everything that is going on – this morning I wondered if CoJ was going to touch the Alabama abortion decision or steer clear – I am so glad you did – I never thought we would be here again and I am sad and scared and angry in turns. I worry about all the women, children and families who will suffer because of these changes. I wonder why we can’t care and love the children who are here, why we can’t provide more opportunities, safer spaces, more education, less precarity – I’ve never commented before but this deserves a thanks

  99. Adrienne says...

    Thank you.

  100. Meghan says...

    Like many people, I’ve always had a complicated relationship with abortion – I’m generally pro-people-doing-what-they-believe-is-best, but I was raised Catholic and those values still influence the way I view the world.

    But as a woman living in Georgia, I feel a loss in a way I didn’t expect. I’m in a position of privilege – I would have the resources to travel to another state to receive care, if it was necessary. But, even so, I feel a loss.

    • Jenn says...

      Just a heads up, the Georgia Law makes it illegal to travel outside of the state for the purpose of obtaining an abortion or for providing material aid to a woman to help her obtain an abortion out of state.

    • Jen says...

      Good grief, how are they going to enforce that?! Forbid women travelling out of state? Stop them at the border and make them take a pregnancy test?

  101. C says...

    I wanted to thank you for pointing out that there are more effective ways to stop abortions than to make them illegal. I am very much pro-life, but feel very strongly that the way to reduce abortions is through greater access to contraceptives, better prenatal care availability, more help for single and working mothers, and, when appropriate, education about how to place a child for adoption. A society where women feel like the best option is to end the life of their unborn child is clearly not a society that supports women—I hope that all of this discussion will lead the way for policies that will make it easier for women to experience safe, healthy pregnancies and that we will start moving towards a place where raising children is more affordable and not career-ending.

    • B. says...

      That’s a beautiful way of putting it.

    • Gina says...

      This. If 75% of abortions are because women are financially unable to have a child, the best way to reduce abortions is to provide more support to women who actually want the baby but can’t afford it. Which, ironically, happen to be the policies that Democrats largely support and Republicans don’t. Which is why I vote Democratic even though I’m pro-life.

    • Amy says...

      You said how I feel so well. Thank you.

    • Abby says...

      Well said. I’m pro choice but your right its really sad to think that a woman can’t have a child because of financial reasons. Why don’t these Republicans support laws and initiatives that would allow woman to keep the child but also live a productive life. This would be feasible if we had maternal health care, better public education, better minimum wage etc.

    • emily says...

      Thank you so much for this. I’ve been filled with rage today and feeling so hopeless, but this has been a salve to my soul.

    • Eleanor says...

      Thank you, C. Your words are the true definition of pro-life, unlike many who call themselves that, but are truly just anti-choice and anti-life. I appreciate your understanding of the nuance of this issue.

    • Sherry says...

      Well said. In a country where the weak, poor, disabled, fill in the blank, are looked down upon and the prevalent narrative is to acquire more money and power, it’s not fair to women to expect them to have a baby no matter what and then not support them in the past, present and future of having babies. I wish there were no need or desire for abortions ever. In the meantime, let’s support women and any and all groups of any age that are not valued.

    • Laura says...

      Beautifully said.

    • L says...

      C, I am going to copy this down because it so eloquently states what a feminist pro-life outlook is! Thank you!

    • Jessica says...

      “C”, I am pro-life as well, and agree with you 100%.

    • JB says...

      Yes to everything you’ve said. I feel The same way which is why I too am pro-life and vote Democratic. Thanks for speaking my mind so well. And thanks to cup of jo fit letting us all speak our mind.

  102. Lo says...

    Please vote democrat, and vote for women if possible! This can’t be our future…

  103. Lindsay says...

    Oh I would love it if we could have way better sex Ed, and provide, generously, free birth control to all ages. Also morning after pill in every house. I am very horrified by abortion and would pay higher taxes to support these things. I also support creating easier access to pregnancy support/medical care, and food stamps and day care help. In high school so many girls had had multiple abortions. Think of the trauma and long term effects they have suffered from, so sad.. If abortion continues to be easy, it will not get better. Is it really true alabama’s new law won’t even allow rape cases bc I read Georgia did? If kids can’t get abortions, I do think they’ll start being a lot more careful out of necessity. It will be better for them long term. I also want to know when life begins in your opinion? Also some of us just don’t see another humans body inside as “our body” since it’s someone else’s. Abortion is a bad experience no matter the circumstances and we need to prevent it the best we can. To end a life because it doesn’t fit with your current life goals/career….. That’s what I have the hardest time with.

    • Annie says...

      You say abortion is a bad experience no matter what the circumstances. Have you had one? How do you know this? I know so many women who had abortions and say they were the best decision they ever made.

    • Sasha L says...

      You know what I have the hardest time with? You, telling me and every other woman out there what is best for us. I know lots of women who’ve had abortions and they don’t regret it, they aren’t damaged by it, and what they did with their bodies is in no way my business or yours. Abortion is not a bad experience, it’s health care. And if you think that these abortion laws have ANYTHING to do with “life”, dream on. It’s never been about anything other than the subjugation and control of women. Open your eyes.

    • Kate says...

      Abortion has never been and will never be easy.

    • emily says...

      You are obviously a kind-hearted person and I totally understand why you would think that reducing access to abortion would reduce abortion, but the data doesn’t support it. It just increases unsafe, potentially life threatening abortions. And I know if my own teenage hormones are any indicator, I was not thinking of whether or not I had access to safe and legal abortions in the moment. Luckily I had parents who encouraged me to use contraception if I chose to be sexually active.

    • Sarah says...

      You live in a dream world and need to come back to reality. Have you looked at any stats? It is absolutely not true that “people will start being more careful” because abortion is illegal. That’s a pipe dream. WhT about people who use protection, took the morning after pill AND still got pregnant?! Most people don’t think they will get pregnant… until they do. What do you suggest a mentally ill or financially incapable pregnant girl or woman do? Bring the child into the world at all costs? Then what happens to the child when their mother cannot take care of them? Will you foster them? Adopt them? Sponsor them?

      Totally unreal how so many people spill untruths that are entirely disconnected from reality.

    • Amanda says...

      Abortion is not traumatic so long as it is freely chosen. The most common emotion women report after an abortion is relief.

      And the idea that tons of highschool girls are having multiple abortions? Not really backed up by fact.

      You may want to rethink where you’re getting your information.

    • Roxana says...

      Lindsay, thank you. I totally agree about paying higher taxes, etc. I will pay all the money if it means that a mother and her child will live and live well. I identify as a conservative pro-lifer and I welcome a raise in my taxes that will go to social programs to support people (women, children and men) in systemic poverty or who are otherwise in a rough situation.

  104. K says...

    Thank you for this post.

  105. Courtney says...

    THANK YOU, COJ. I’d like to add that electing one of the strong women candidates in 2020 would be a massive step forward for women’s right across the board. Women, let’s come together and fight for progress.

    • Kristen R says...

      This article is AMAZING and totally spot on. I’ve struggled without to respond and how to think about this issue – yes I am pro life but I’m also pro women and I think this takes it away from the ‘cure’ of an unwanted pregnancy and instead to the cause and is totally fascinating. It goes along with a (completely unrelated) podcast I listened to which talked about how, with movies, women see all male-led movies all the time. Whereas, for men, this is not common in reverse (feels like they are giving in to see a female-led movie). And this is because we have been trained to believe this is the norm (male vs. female) as opposed to recognizing that this isn’t right!! So often, we call out women as the exception, and not as the standard.

      thanks for sharing this article!

  106. Elizabeth says...

    Thank you for writing about this. What an informative and fair article!

  107. thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you

  108. Anna says...

    Just donated to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. Honestly, would this be such a fight if men were also able to get pregnant (and also if men had as high rates of being sexually assaulted as women)?? It makes me SO angry. It makes me wish I were born 100 years in the future, when presumably women are no longer so resented and harmed by society.

    Logic/strategic (i.e., temporarily putting aside the moral aspect) question: Is it a good idea to challenge this law in Alabama, if it means that it will likely eventually be brought before the Supreme Court, and risk overturning Roe v. Wade? I imagine the answer is yes, but I would appreciate hearing someone’s more legally informed opinion on this.

    • marie says...

      Not a legal person, but the Supreme court would have to decide if they are going to even hear the case, if it indeed goes there.

  109. Laura says...

    I’m not sure if anyone watches Call the Midwife, but the U.S. release of the latest season is eerily timed. As it’s focused on women’s health, the show has always dealt abortion and the results of the many illegal and unsafe abortions performed in the 50s and 60s, but it’s really come to a head lately, and for me, at least, makes very vivid how hopeless and terrible it is when women do not have access to safe, legal ways to end pregnancies. Obviously I’m outraged from a women’s rights perspective, but I also don’t think anyone in the U.S. is truly prepared for the public health disaster and deaths that would result if we returned to the era of back-alley abortions.

    • Sasha L says...

      We already have the shittiest and most dangerous maternal health care system in the developed world. And now it’s about to get even worse. It’s almost like they hate women or something.

  110. Natasha says...

    Holy fuck USA get your shit together.

    • Kimberley says...

      Literally.

  111. Eve says...

    – Women who suffer from domestic violence often watch their children suffer as well. And the woman suffers more while pregnant. Bringing another child into an abusive home, and being abused while “hosting” it, must be terrifying.
    – Bringing a pregnancy to term when your body hasn’t fully developed (when you’re 9-15) poses serious risks to the fetus and mother, yet this is not what’s obviously included in “health of the mother”.
    – Anti-abortion women get abortions all the time, thinking their case it different.
    – The men and women who push these policies through are rich enough to send their wives, mistresses, and daughters out of state for abortions when they need to.
    – In most pregnancies we don’t get full genetic testing results, which reveal the non-fatal concerns many of us cannot financially or emotionally afford to treat, until week 20.
    – The passers of this bill still think terminating fertilized eggs outside of a woman (IVF) is okay, making it clear this is about punishing women, not the sanctity of conception.
    – Taking your rapist’s baby to term, I can’t imagine a bigger indignity. This will cause suicides.
    – Boiling hot rage.
    https://theslot.jezebel.com/motherhood-in-alabama-by-the-numbers-1834783134

    • Jenny says...

      100% what you said, Eve.

    • lkb says...

      Oh, you make so many good points. Thank you. To add to one of them:

      I’m in the middle of my 3rd pregnancy, and with each one I’ve tried to mentally prepare myself for what we might find out at the week 20 ultrasound. I did research about what abortion laws are in my state just to be prepared, but knowing full well that regardless, I’m lucky to have the means to travel elsewhere, if necessary.

      I know there are bigger, more fundamental issues about abortion at stake right now, but this is a nuance that few people talk about, and one that is very real for many women. Finding out that a baby has, as you said, a financially or emotionally infeasible genetic issue, would be crushing. And to find that out and be helpless to do anything because options for an abortion ended weeks/months earlier, even more so. (Not to say anything about the option being off the table entirely!)

      There was a great episode of The Cut on Tuesdays entitled “23 weeks 6 days”, which featured a heartbreaking story of one woman’s experience getting a later abortion. I cried, multiple times, but highly recommend listening to it.

  112. Jana says...

    A better way to reduce abortion is to reduce unintended pregnancies. -YES!
    Thank you! I have been struggling with how to put my thoughts, emotions, and views into words without attacking and hating as I have seen many posts do. I don’t know other ways to help, with the exception of sharing this information to all that I know. I have always been quiet about these type of controversial topics because I have so many people in my circle with different views. I chosen to not share my political views to prevent strife. However, as a mother of three young women…. I must be brave and stand up!

  113. Thank you, Joanna and team.
    This is so abhorrent and disgusting and a zillion other things.
    I also can’t understand how these purported “pro-life” people can spout their rhetoric but at the same time be extremely pro-death penalty and extremely anti-gun laws. It beggars belief.
    Also, hello, you want small government but you are literally trying to legislate the inside of my body? Nope.

  114. Julie says...

    THANK YOU!

  115. Sarah says...

    Personally, I hate the idea of abortion. To me, it is a life and I hate to think of a life being ended. That said, I can empathize with women who choose to have an abortion and I do believe it should be a woman’s choice. Taking that choice away, taking the safe providers away is a scary prospect. I would love to see a time come when abortions are greatly reduced. I strongly believe that sex education, easy access to free or very affordable contraception and easy access to emergency contraception are the very best way to get to that point. Also, we should be supporting mothers, especially those who are young, poor and/or haven’t had a chance at education or job training.
    I have an incredibly hard time understanding those who rail against abortion and support the death penalty. Am I wrong that many conservatives hold these completely contradictory views? That just doesn’t add up in my mind.

    • t says...

      It’s because you are thinking about this in a logical way rather than how conservative lawmakers are approaching it which is: what can we do to ensure our power (as white men) and continue to oppress everyone else.

      This is completely by design.

    • Roxana says...

      I am conservative (and pro-life) and I think you are right that being pro-life (as the term is generally understood) and supporting the death penalty is a bit of a contradiction. I believe that every life is inherently invaluable and that it’s not for us to decide who lives and who doesn’t.

    • Jen says...

      abortions HAVE been greatly reduced …bc of legal abortions

    • Sarah says...

      I understand that there has been a reduction in abortions. I would like to see more education, more access to women’s health care and contraception, more access to emergency contraception, more support for those in abusive relationships, less rape, less incest, less violence against women so that abortion could be as low as possible. I would like to reduce the number of women who have to make that decision. I also understand that unwanted or unplanned pregnancy are just a couple of reasons for abortions.

  116. Erin says...

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  117. Amy says...

    I have to say that I am *for the most part* pro-life. However, I think this bill is completely insane! Is there one man held responsible for his contribution to this pregnancy in this bill? It’s disgusting!!!

    Again, a mostly pro-lifer here, but I will NEVER support a bill like this. It’s so out there. No way is this going to fly with the Supreme Court.

    I truly don’t believe the country is this divided on this issue. Most people I talk to are REASONABLE and fall in the middle somewhere. It’s our crazy politicians that are so far right and left! We need better representation!

    • Sara says...

      Amy, I am glad that you would never support a bill like this. I am curious what you mean by “for the most part pro-life”. The term “pro-life” is generally used to indicate that someone opposes abortion. This bill opposes abortion, yet you don’t support this bill (again, I am glad that you do not!) I write because I think it is important to point out how damaging some of the terminology surrounding this issue is – pro-life indicates that anyone that believes in a woman’s right to choose whether or not she can have a safe and legal abortion is in fact, anti-life. I think that 99.99% of us are in fact in favor of life and supporting the living. Perhaps what you mean is that you yourself would not get an abortion. Perhaps what you mean is that you oppose abortion in certain cases. I’d love to hear your viewpoint, as I also believe that most people are reasonable and fall in the middle somewhere. Maybe someone like you, who has nuanced views on when abortion should be legal and available, is the perfect person to start changing the use of this misleading and damaging terminology.

  118. Andrea says...

    While I’m pro-life, I believe laws like this aren’t at all useful in addressing the root causes of WHY a woman would seek an abortion – systemic poverty, paid parental leave, affordable childcare, comprehensive sex ed and access to birth control, etc. Making abortion illegal doesn’t help anyone afford to raise a child so…..you haven’t actually solved any problems! I hate that this issue is being used to make political moves, and wish both sides would do more listening to each other so we can work together on things that would help women.

    • Jenn says...

      If you don’t want to ban abortions, you are pro-choice.

    • Laura says...

      Jenn, there is more to being pro-life than wanting to ban abortions. I think Andrea was very clear that she wants to support fetal life, and that she recognizes that the best way to do that is by addressing the root cause. A few other aspects of being pro-life include not wanting the death penalty (you know, because those are lives too), wanting to change gun laws (with the intent of eliminating gun shootings, which eliminates deaths caused by gun shootings), and wanting to provide access to affordable health care to everyone (so that the fetal lives we hope will not be aborted can have good health). I could list other aspects, but I think these examples make the point.

    • Laura says...

      *that she recognizes that the best way to do that is by addressing the root cause of abortions*.

  119. Cynthia says...

    I’ve been following this in the news. No one who is a victim of rape or incest should have to go through with the pregnancy. Birth control should be easily available and covered by health insurance.

  120. SL says...

    Thank you for posting about this and providing concrete things that we can do to channel our anger and fear. Keep up the good work!!

  121. Sarah says...

    Thank you.

  122. Carolyn says...

    For people in the DC-Maryland-Virginia region looking to support locally, check out DCAF (DC Abortion Fund)! Clinics in this region provide help for women all over the country facing very difficult circumstances. DCAF and it’s volunteers provide financial support for low-income women seeking abortions and logistical support for those traveling from far away (helping arrange travel, places to stay, etc).

  123. Thank you for this. The USA needs to fix itself. Thank you for this timely and well written post. Signed, a sad outraged expat living in Europe

  124. Kate says...

    I was so hoping you would write about this. Thank you.

  125. Islay Thompson says...

    Thank you thank you thank you for posting on this important issue and horrifying law. I work as a prenatal genetic counsellor at a hospital in Toronto, so this issue hits very close to home for me.

    A very dear friend of mine is a human rights lawyer in NYC for the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), which is also another place to donate to. The CRR was integral in the passing of Ireland’s recent abortion referendum, and is doing incredible work in the United States in taking governments like Alabama’s to court for these abortion bans. Please consider adding the CRR to your list of non-profits to donate to in your post: https://www.reproductiverights.org/

  126. Ariana Pakizegi says...

    Thank you for posting this. This ban is terrifying and devastating and will affect women of color and the poor especially – appreciated seeing this post.

  127. Lula says...

    I’m watching this with horror from the UK. Every new article I read about the possibility of Roe Vs Wade being overturned fills me with dread. The level of control these men want to exert over women is frankly terrifying; I can’t comprehend how the woman of Alabama are feeling just now. Is there anything supporters from other countries can do to help, beyond watch in horror?

    • Lisa says...

      I feel exactly the same and I’m in the US. What is happening is ridiculous and terrifying. The current administration and the people who are trying to push their agendas because of it has rolled back so many forward thinking laws of people that have come before them. I’m embarrassed about the state of affairs in my country.

  128. Sara Rahman says...

    Thank you

  129. Islay Thompson says...

    Thank you thank you thank you for posting on this important issue and horrifying law. A very dear friend of mine is a human rights lawyer in NYC for the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), which is also another place to donate to. The CRR was integral in the passing of Ireland’s recent abortion referendum, and is doing incredible work in the United States in taking governments like Alabama’s to court for these abortion bans. Please consider adding the CRR to your list of non-profits to donate to in your post: https://www.reproductiverights.org/

    Big hugs from Toronto, xo

  130. Allison says...

    Thank you for this. I can think of little else these days.

  131. Julia says...

    I have been reading your blog for many years and frequently found comfort in many articles about motherhood.
    Joanna, you are a mom yourself and I am wondering how you can speak about abortion as if it were only about the WOMAN, not at all about the BABY! The main reasons for having an abortion are not crimes such as rape or incest! It is not okay to exclude those crimes from the bill, but I feel that it also does not touch upon the topicˋs core.

    I would love for the CoJ-Team to do an article about how abortions affect women later in life – about how they still think about the baby when theyˋre in their 70s, and the regret they might face their whole life (as my stepmother does).

    • A says...

      Again, banning abortions will not prevent them from occurring. I think you’re missing the point.

    • Sarah F says...

      I’m also a mother. The problem with abortion bans is pretty simple. They don’t prevent abortions. Women have abortions at the same rates in areas where they’re illegal as in areas where they’re legal. It’s really about whether we allow women access to medical care or force them to use clandestine methods. As a mother, the thought of teenage girls trying to terminate their pregnancies without medical care is very, very scary to me.

    • Allison says...

      This is about rights. No one should have the ability to control what a woman does with her body. Making the decision to have an abortion is a personal, private choice and all women should have that choice. The government should not have a say in this. It’s horrible that your stepmother regrets her choice, but I think you’d be hard pressed to find all women who have had abortions feel that way.

    • Lauren E. says...

      Read it again. I beg you. Making abortion illegal does not stop abortion. It simply puts the life of the mother in even greater danger. Women will have abortions whether it’s legal or not. It’s not a matter of opinion.

    • B says...

      I completely agree. People such as myself (I graduated from an Ivy League school, am from Massachusetts – I say this only to say there are plenty of us who aren’t “them” in this abortion debate). We are smart, thinking people who agree with major restrictions on abortion because of the life of the baby. Pro choicers do not have the upper hand in this debate (they have a legitimate point of view, but it’s not black and white). This is a VERY complicated issue and both sides believe for good reason in the validity of their side. I fully see why CofJ takes this position. But that is not representative of the voice of all women. Many of us disagree and believe the baby’s right to life trumps the mother’s right to choose. (This is also why I oppose the death penalty). And yes – we need to do everything we can as a society to reduce teen pregnancy, make motherhood tenable financially etc.

    • A says...

      It’s convenient to focus on rape and incest but the truth is the majority of abortions are birth control for the inconvenienced woman or teen, as I was at 19 when I had one for selfish reasons. I’m now middle age and it’s the biggest regret of my life. So much for the baby’s body right ? Who’s advocating for him/her? A baby getting in the way of education/life/dreams/
      goals/etc… no $ to raise it, etc. all of that sucks but stopping a beating heart sucks more. It’s a no brainer.

    • Allison says...

      There are so many other women who don’t regret their abortions. Or women who sadly DO regret carrying a pregnancy to term. I don’t think regret is a convincing argument here, as people may have many regrets throughout their lives. The bottom line is that if you don’t believe abortion is the right choice, then you shouldn’t have one. But you shouldn’t get to make that choice for other people.

    • t says...

      I agree with @B that it is not a black and white topic but I think that is what it has been reduced to: an all or nothing in politics. In my opinion a mother should have the right to choose to have an abortion until the fetus is viable (say 21 weeks). I certainly feel that up until that point the fetus is part of the woman’s body.

      I am a mother and not until my children were born did I think of them as a babies.

    • cbb says...

      I’m sorry that your stepmother regrets her abortion. But the research shows very clearly that the vast majority of women feel relief, not regret, when they look back on a decision to terminate a pregnancy. A range of emotions is normal in any big life decision, this one is no different.

      I am a mother, too, and while I have not had an abortion, I did have a miscarriage. I felt very sad about that at the time, but over time, that sadness faded and I know that the family I have is just as it should be. Friends who’ve had abortions (by the way 59% of those who have abortions are mothers) feel the same way about their decision.

      http://time.com/3956781/women-abortion-regret-reproductive-health/

    • Alex says...

      I am also a mother and someone who would not seek an abortion of a healthy fetus, but I am relieved to have the option available to me in the case of life-threatening health problems (to either myself or the fetus). Women who decide to have abortions (for any reason at all) are all somebody’s baby, who have had years on this earth to be loved, have hopes and dreams, to earn their own health and autonomy. I think of the photo of the woman who died in Ireland because she was denied care as she miscarried: “She had a heartbeat too.”

    • mb says...

      I don’t think Joanna’s post centered on rape and incest as the main causes behind abortions. She also brought up other very real concerns, such as the inability for a woman to support a child.

      If the end goal is to not avoid abortions, consider the way the system is structured and what that means for women, especially women that live in precarious economic conditions: Note, for example, that Alabama does NOT HAVE laws requiring any maternity leave. Or the fact that less than half of Alabama’s counties have obstetricians.

      https://www.marketwatch.com/story/only-5-states-have-paid-family-leave-laws-allowing-parents-to-bond-with-their-newborn-2019-02-06

      https://www.al.com/news/2015/02/many_alabama_women_drive_50_mi.html

      I disagree with the premise that abortion is about the fetus. Pregnancy is very much centered on the woman’s physical and mental state. A woman’s health and ability to access services are central to a pregnancy going well. If anything, we should focus on ensuring that women who do not want to get pregnant have access to methods that avoid pregnancy.

      As for the anecdotal evidence of women’s regret, there’s an equal (or greater) number of women who do not regret having an abortion.

    • Sara says...

      Julia,
      I am a mother to two — a 4 year old boy and 2 year old girl and am currently 18 weeks pregnant. I say this only so you can know that I am deep in the stages of participating in the miracle of birth/life/watching littles grow.

      Though I was raised catholic, my family was always pro-choice. Becoming a mother only confirmed my beliefs that growing a baby for nine months — whether you care for that child after or not — is only for those who say yes to it. Becoming pregnant is not a yes. A baby cannot exist without the woman first, and this is why my first care is always for the child bearer. I would never make the choice for another woman to become a mother. I would never allow someone to make that choice for me.

      I am lucky to have a partner who I love and who loves me and is just as invested as I am in our family. This is not the case for all.

      As a pro-choice woman, I want to make it clear that I am pro-life, but not in the political sense. I am pro the life of the woman who sustains the life of the baby. I am pro care for the woman who bears the weight of growing a child. I am pro any support that offers the mom, dad and future baby as healthy a life as possible. I am pro contraception and education that makes these decisions less necessary.

      I would also be curious about a retrospective from women who’ve had abortions. Having supported two of my dear friends through them, I expect that the responses might be more varied than we imagine.

      Thank you Jo and team for writing about this so wisely and for giving suggestions on ways we can help. I am horrified, crying, and yet sadly, not surprised by these ‘advancements’.

    • Jenny says...

      I would like that same article to interview women whose abortions allowed them to leave abusive relationships, to finish school, to get out of poverty so that they could provide for their other children, to plan their future so that they could care for their future children, and to feel like full and equal citizens whose happiness and autonomy are valued and respected.

      In a country without universal healthcare, paid parental leave, subsidized childcare, what is a woman without means supposed to do when faced with an unplanned pregnancy? Risk her only job and income? Risk homelessness? [And bravo if you support all of these things and that’s why you’re a “true pro-lifer” but that is not our reality and women’s lives will be affected TODAY.]

      I am sorry that your stepmother regrets her abortion. But that does not mean pregnant women should be denied safe medical care. I would think that based on that experience, you would agree that women who need to or decide to terminate a pregnancy need the most expert, compassionate medical care from qualified doctors and the support of an abortion doula.

    • Maureen says...

      I have never more strongly believed in someone’s right to have an abortion than after I had my own baby. I love my baby more than I ever even knew it was possible to love someone and also believe that pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting a newborn is WAY TOO HARD to require someone do it who doesn’t want to it. So, as for the comment, “you’re a mom yourself,” I will say that I am a mom and I 100% support someone’s ability to have an abortion.

    • M says...

      Also a mother here. But years ago I’ve made this difficult choice. Do I regret that choice? In a way.. Would I do it now? At this point in my life, with these values? Probably not. But given the circumstances back then, I STAND by my choice. And it was devastating, heartbreaking, extremely difficult choice to make. But I can’t even imagine adding the agony of knowing it is illegal, or the scarcity of medical care associated with abortion, to that choice.

      Unfortunately politics is not about us or our choices. Telling us what we should or should not do with our bodies should not be a political platform.

      Thank you CofJ!!!

    • Jenn says...

      1) Those studies have been done. 95% of women do not regret their choice–and frankly, even if they did in large numbers, regret over a decision is not a reason to take away someone’s choice.
      2) As to the issues of mothers who are pro-choice, 59% of women who have abortions are ALREADY mothers and 66% of those who are not already mothers do plan on conceiving again someday.
      3) The primary reason women site for having an abortion is lack of financial readiness or support.
      4) Banning abortion kills women–living, breathing women who are frequently supporting living, breathing children.

    • AP says...

      Sure, as long as she speaks about the outher side- women very grateful to have had the means and access to the procedure. It can’t be one sided.

    • LMS says...

      I am a psychiatrist and psychotherapist focusing on women’s mental health. For what it’s worth:

      Some women (up to 25% according to one study) report regret over an abortion at some point in their lives. But this is usually not constant or for their whole lives. People change throughout their lives – indeed, circumstances change. A woman who made the “best decision of her life” in having an abortion at age 20 may decide at age 42 that it was a mistake as she is struggling with infertility. That same woman may later believe the abortion was a good decision now that she has an adopted child, or has lived a child-free life, etc.

      People can forget or re-interpret what caused them to make a decision, including important life decisions. Though it is difficult, we need to include motherhood in this discussion. Women often regret motherhood (again, at different times and not always consistently) – but this regret is unmentionable in our society.

    • KCW says...

      There are many legal things that we do that may cause some people regret. This whole “regret” debate is such a red herring — name any other area where that is a legitimate basis for legislation? It’s just another way of casting women as unstable, incapable and untrustworthy when it comes to our bodies. An individual woman’s psychological reaction to her own abortion (even when aggregated in a study, for example) should NOT determine whether the rest of us are allowed to weigh potential psychological costs and make our own choices in cooperation with our doctors.

  132. Taylor says...

    Thank you, thank you for this.

    I would add asking the men in your life to speak out. Women do not have accidental pregnancies alone. There are so many men out there who have requested their partners get abortions, supported partners through abortions, or not supported their partners though abortions but been relieved by their partners abortions! I am so angry at the lack of outrage from men who benefit and need abortion access too.

    • G says...

      This!!! One of the most frustrating things about access to contraception and abortion is how unequally unwanted pregnancy and abortion access affects women. There is no need for contraception and abortion if men aren’t having sex with women, but women bear the brunt of unwanted pregnancy.

    • t says...

      YES! There hasn’t been nearly enough outrage especially from LIBERAL men. I guess they don’t want to lose their upper-hand either.

    • Toma says...

      My thoughts exactly. It is a womens issue but it is also a mens issue. I suppose if a woman gets pregnant and has to birth a child, men also have to find their way of dealing with the childs needs and their responsibility which cannot be ignoring it. Because of body autonomy, it is a womens issue but because of the child having a father and a mother, men also have to think about the consequences of a stricter abortion law and think about it hard.

    • Kathryn says...

      Yes!

      Thank you for this article!

    • Alexandra says...

      Taylor, THIS! Thank you for putting words so eloquently to this important, and neglected, part of the issue.

    • Grace says...

      PREACH!

    • Sara says...

      YES YES YES. thank you Taylor! It seems as if the powers that be think that we’re impregnating ourselves.

  133. Edds says...

    Thank you for posting this.

  134. Emily says...

    Thank you for taking a stand here. I’d add one more thing: vote Democrat in the next election, not just for president but Senate/House and state government as well. They are the people most capable of affecting change in this area, and as long as the anti-choice members of government are in power, this will keep happening.

  135. Emily says...

    I note that none of these laws add any funding for pre/post natal care, health care, contraceptives, socioeconomic or educational benefits.

    You know, things that are shown to significantly improve childrens lives and reduce abortions.

    This is all about controlling women.

    I am glad to see the pro-fetus lobby has abandoned the rape/incest exception, since it’s completely inconsistent with their views that women have no rights in this matter

    • Andrea says...

      I’m pro-life and I 100% agree with you!

    • Hayley says...

      i couldn’t agree more, about all of this and especially the last sentence.

    • lynn says...

      “This is all about controlling women” — YES. This is the core of the issue. Women are being treated as carriers and incubators, not as autonomous humans.
      Let’s also remember that simultaneously, the very same conservative party has also been pushing through religious and “moral” exemptions for contraceptives. That is, they are making it harder for women to access and afford contraceptive WHILE ALSO making it nearly impossible for the same women to access abortions.

    • Danielle says...

      This quote from Lindy West is everywhere today-it may already be in this comments section but it’s so succinct it’s hard not mention it. ” Anti-choice people are not trying to stop abortion. They are trying to legislate who can and cannot have abortions. Because conservative politicians- their wives and mistresses and daughters are always going to be able to get an abortion somewhere. All criminalizing abortion will do is keep people trapped in poverty for generations. That’s the goal, and if it wasn’t the goal they would spend their time and money on comprehensive sex education, free birth control, and free contraception. “

    • Caitlin says...

      Yes yes yes. The US also has a terrible mother and infant mortality rate which so called “pro-lifers” never seem to care about. Perhaps we should focus on preserving the lives of a mothers AND babies (full term viable babies) that are dying due to lack of access to adequate care.

  136. Anna says...

    Thank you so much for covering this shocking development. I am in utter disbelief about what’s happening in the US right now. Seriously, my blood boils for the women of Alabama – and beyond! It must be terrifying to be a woman in the US at the moment. But I knew I could count on the CoJ team to stay politically active and engaged. I will donate from the UK. I support your fight.

  137. Karen says...

    Thank you to the Cup of Jo team for sounding your voice loud and clear on this critical issue.

  138. Beth says...

    The Center for Reproductive Rights and The Lawyering Project also do a lot of litigation for the advancement of reproductive rights at the state and local level. Also, please consider donating to Gateway Women’s Access Fund in Missouri where only one (1) abortion clinic remains open and whose state Senate just passed a bill that would ban abortion after 8 weeks. It’s monstrous what these anti-choice legislators are doing to women’s reproductive rights. Thank you for speaking out on this issue!

  139. Carly says...

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  140. Abby says...

    Thank you so much for posting this article. Can’t believe it’s 2019 and we are still fighting for our rights. The hypocrisy of it is what really sets me over the edge. I don’t believe anyone is “prolife” until they support the ban of assault weapons and invest in education, healthcare and a livable minimum wage. Forcing someone to have a child and then not creating a safety net for the mother and child is beyond cruel. So angry.

    • Amy says...

      You make a very good point!

    • M says...

      Ugh this is what gets me riled up EVERY TIME. Republicans don’t want abortions or access to affordable birth control. Once the baby is here, they don’t want to pay for welfare programs, healthcare, etc. What precisely do they expect people to do?!

    • Sara says...

      ??Abby

  141. Eloise says...

    Thank you for this carefully measured report. How many drafts did it take to get out the anger, disbelief, etc?? (Rhetorical question, but I am having a very hard time with all of this.)

    • Katrin says...

      I was wondering the same thing. I have so much respect for you for writing such a clear, comprehensive article about this terrible and dangerous development. Thank you for bringing it up and for speaking up! I‘m glad to be living in Germany where there is no risk of abortion being banned, and at the same time it hurts me so much that this is happening to our sisters and families in the US and Northern Ireland.

  142. Marisa says...

    Thank you so much for using your forum to raise attention to this and for listing ways to help. My heart breaks for all the women who will be impacted by what’s happening in Alabama and in other states. No woman should be forced to follow through with a pregnancy and the fact we are revisiting whether a woman has a constitutional right to make her own choice in this regard – in 2019 – is truly terrifying.

  143. Cady Phillips says...

    You can also look into your local providers and see if they need volunteers as well! Planned Parenthood is an awesome organization, but small, independently owned clinics and abortion funds need our help too.

  144. Wendy says...

    I was just thinking, “Man, COJ’s lineup right now… hair tool, cookies, picture of breakfast…I really hope they are working on something about women’s rights.” Thanks for showing up, COJ.

    • Cait says...

      Ditto.

    • Hayley says...

      Beauty, cookies, women’s rights … it’s okay to care about things heavy and light :).

    • Val says...

      hair tool, cookies, picture of breakfast and women’s rights = all of my favorite things! <3

    • Elizabeth says...

      I was thinking the same thing yesterday. Bravo, Cup of Jo!

    • Courtney says...

      They also kicked off the week with a post on complicated mother-daughter relationships, and featured another post with insights from a woman engineer. I’m always appreciative of COJ’s wide range of topics, cookies and hair tools included.

  145. Kim says...

    Thank you for using your platform to bring this issue more attention.

    It’s remarkable to me that a country that places so much emphasis on personal freedom has moved so far away from that.

    Don’t like abortion? Don’t get one. And it needs to be repeated: banning abortion doesn’t stop abortion. It just makes it less safe and more women die.

    • Caitlin says...

      Thank you thank you thank you thank you! Also North Dakota and Iowa have six week abortion bans too.

    • Caitlin says...

      Yes! I will never ever understand how requiring someone to go through a background check or not allowing them to have an assault weapon is considered violating their rights, yet forcing a 12 year old rape victim to carry a baby to term is considered totally fine?????