Here's What You Should Know about Alabama Amendment 2
Alabama's Amendment 2 would make it a state policy to "ensure the protection of the rights of the unborn child in all manners and measures lawful and appropriate."
By now, it shouldn't come as a surprise when anti choicers push legislation that flies directly in the face of Roe v. Wade. In the last year, we've seen Iowa's six week abortion ban (temporarily blocked by a judge), Arkansas's ban on medical abortion, which resulted in Planned Parenthood cancelling abortions and leaving folks seeking abortion care forced to find other means of obtaining it. Other states, among them New Hampshire, South Carolina and Mississippi, also face bills that would essentially gut access to abortion.
Alabama's Amendment 2, on the state's ballot this November, would make it a state policy to "ensure the protection of the rights of the unborn child in all manners and measures lawful and appropriate." As the National Advocates for Pregnant Women points out, this doesn't only endanger those seeking abortion care, but also those who miscarry, those seeking fertility treatments, and anyone who causes "harm" to a fetus. This isn't a new concept - states (Indiana) have attempted, and in some cases succeeded to get laws like this passed. In August 2018, a federal court deemed an Alabama bill that tried to outlaw the dilation and evacuation method of second trimester abortion illegal. There's a strategy at work here: propose a bill that's definitely not constitutional, that will get thrown out of court on the basis that it violates Roe v. Wade, but sets a precedent for other bills like it. The more extreme the bill, the more "reasonable" the next bill, which is probably similar to it, appears.
Right now, it's still easy to dismiss this, since Roe exists, and abortion can't be fully outlawed. The recent appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court means that the overturning of Roe is a "when" and not an "if." While some states will retain the right to abortion regardless of Roe's status, others, such as Louisiana, South Dakota and Mississippi will make abortion illegal immediately upon Roe's demise. These laws that reneg Roe as soon as the Supreme Court gives the signal are known as "trigger laws." Currently, Alabama is not a state with a trigger law in place, but Amendment 2 is an opportunity to establish language in the state's constitution to ban abortion, and to imperil pregnant folks in general.
Of course, what we know to be true is that whether or not Roe remains, abortion isn't accessible in much of the country. We also know that people will seek abortion regardless of whether not it's legal, it's a matter of whether or not they'll be able to access it safely. Those who can't access it will either attempt unsafe abortion or carry their unwanted pregnancies to term. According to the National Abortion Federation, there are three abortion clinics in Alabama - in Huntsville, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa. There's at least two hours of driving (round trip) between each of these locations, and there could be more, depending on where in the state you're coming from. Don't forget - even a 20 minute drive can make prohibit someone from being able to get an abortion if that person can't drive, doesn't have access to public transportation, can't afford to take a day off of work and/or find childcare. The Yellowhammer Fund helps folks in Alabama access abortion care, and that includes expenses like lodging, childcare, and transportation.
It is safe to self manage your own abortion - that means it's not necessary to go to a clinic to get the pill or take it - it can all be done at home or wherever you feel most secure. Women Help Women is here to make sure you can get not only abortion pills (the actual abortion pill, consisting of separate doses of mifepristone and misoprostol, and misoprostol itself, which can be taken on its own), but information about how the pills work and what to expect when you take them. WHW's Q/A can also set you straight when it comes to harmful (and false) information about abortion pills. No matter what the abortion laws are in the place where you live, you deserve accurate scientific information about self managed abortion so you can make the decision that's best for you.