Stricter abortion laws are being passed across the country, but two have drawn the most attention locally.
On Jan. 1, Georgia will outlaw almost all abortions once a heartbeat is detected. Most women will effectively be denied abortions before they know they are pregnant. In November, Alabama will outlaw all abortions unless the mother’s physical or mental health is in danger.
Georgia’s law allows exceptions for rape and incest which Alabama’s does not. For an abortion in those cases, Georgia will require that the pregnancy be less than 20 week and that a police report be filed. In case of rape, this may be possible, although many victims are reluctant to report the crime and some, because of date rape drugs, are not even aware of the attack until they discover they are pregnant.
When incest victims are attacked, family members are often aware of the crime and protect the criminal so these relatives would certainly not be filing police reports. Would at 12-year-old incest victim complete a police report, assuming they even understand what that involves?
If tomorrow, abortions were banned nationwide, abortions would continue. Those who are poor and desperate would risk back alley abortions. Those who are wealthy and privileged would jet to another country for a safe abortion.
But maybe, just maybe, our society can accept that abortions are not going to end and will instead guarantee that abortions are “safe, legal and rare” and should only be decided by the pregnant woman herself with advice from her doctor. If state governments want to reduce abortions, they could consider education, better access to birth control and readily available insurance.
Or we can simply pretend that outlawing abortion is the same as eliminating it.