Women Law

How Alabama Women Are Fighting Back Against the Country’s Most Oppressive Abortion Law

Above the doors of the Alabama Statehouse, wherein overdue Tuesday the Senate accredited H.B. 314, the most excessive abortion ban inside the USA is a plaster scroll embossed with the kingdom’s Latin motto: Audemus Jura Nostra Defender. “The word,” explains Amanda Reyes, president of the Yellowhammer Fund, approach “We Dare Defend Our Rights.” And this is precisely what Reyes and her co-founders at Yellowhammer, an Alabama-primarily based nonprofit that provides funding for women who need abortions, intend to do in the face of the boldest attack on reproductive rights in forty-six years, a invoice that outlaws abortion outright, and not using exceptions for rape or incest, and might put in force harsh criminal penalties for abortion carriers.

The country’s conservative governor, Kay Ivey, noted as she signed the invoice into law on Wednesday that it’s miles nearly identical to one that has been at the books in Alabama for extra than one hundred years. Like this new one, that law is unenforceable and has been when you consider that 1973, whilst the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that the proper to abortion changed into blanketed by way of the Constitution.
H.B. 314’s illegality is the factor. “The sponsors of this bill consider that it is time, yet again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this crucial count number, and that they consider this act may additionally result in the first-rate opportunity for this to arise,” Ivey stated in a declaration Wednesday.

Unlike the country of Alabama, the ladies who live there do not have the luxury of flouting the regulation, which is why the Yellowhammer Fund has spent the past 48 hours furiously fundraising to help support those ladies on the occasion that the regulation does go into effect. Of course, that’s still huge if. “The ban, the manner it’s written, will now not go into effect for 6 months after the governor’s signature,” Reyes says. In that point, she and others count on the ACLU or every other prison endorse will sue to prevent it — a case that needs to be clear-cut by any trendy; however, the outcome is unsure given the increasing number of the conservative judiciary. “But if it does take effect, we’re going to use the community that we have already got in our very own kingdom and in our vicinity, with our sister finances within the National Network of Abortion Funds and different character advocates and activists that we paintings with, to [help women from Alabama] get care in which it’s a felony.”


Reyes and her co-founders commenced the Yellowhammer Fund after Donald Trump’s election in 2016 precisely because they noticed efforts like H.B. 314 coming. Then, as now, the parking zone of the West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa, where Reyes and her co-founders volunteer as medical institution escorts, become full of vehicles from the surrounding states. It is considered one of simply 3 abortion-offering centers left in the kingdom, down from nine in 2014 and greater than 20 within the Nineties. Still, Alabama was nevertheless the great choice for lots of ladies within the vicinity. “You’ll see plates from Louisiana, from Arkansas, from Texas, from Mississippi, from Georgia, from Tennessee,” Reyes remembers. “Because of the range of clinics that we do have in contrast to other states, and the difficulties that human beings have stepping into the clinics of their states.”

If H.B. 314 goes into impact, girls can be forced to tour even similarly for abortion care to make it steeply-priced. Leaving the country might be the simplest choice for maximum ladies, Reyes explains. Mail-order clinical abortions, which have become had in the U.S. Ultimate yr, are verboten within the state. “It is illegal in two extraordinary methods: Alabama has what is known as chemical endangerment laws… [and] humans can also be charged with, essentially, training medicine on themselves without a license.” The hazard of arrest, Reyes says, is very actual. “Alabama is simply too dangerous of a kingdom and an excessive amount of-of an aggressively prosecutorial country for us to risk the criminalization of a person who attempts to self-manipulate their abortion,” she says.

“The those who are most probably to do which can be going to be the people that we already serve: the individuals who tend to be the maximum desperate in these kinds of situations. They are black and poor and generally rural, and these are the types of people who are aggressively targeted using police all across the u. However [especially] within the South, with the remnants of Jim Crow and segregation.” Over the years, as legislators within the kingdom have come to be emboldened, so have the protesters. “Since the 2016 election, the anti-abortion activists that pop out to our medical institution have emerged as increasingly aggressive,” Reyes says.

“It is greater aggressive now than it ever has been.” TFor example, theweek earlier than the nation Senate passed H.B. 314, one of the protesters struck a health center escort along with his vehicle. (The escort, who does not seem to had been significantly injured, became taken to urgent care. Lt. Teena Richardson of the Tuscaloosa police branch instructed Rolling Stone the motive force become being investigated for leaving the scene of an accident but refused to provide further details.)

Reyes said Thursday that she did now not have fundraising figures at once to be had. However, the outpouring of support Yellowhammer received, seeing that H.B. 314 passed — such as prominent plugs through 2020 applicants Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Kamala Harris — meant the organization could be “investment a lot of abortions” in the future. “We’re very decided,” Reyes says. “We dare to protect our right to abortion get admission to, and we can spend all of the cash that we can to make certain that people in Alabama can get safe and felony abortion get entry to, despite our kingdom authorities.”

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