On May 7, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a new bill called HB 481 Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, commonly referred to as “fetal heartbeat” bill. The law prohibits women from aborting a fetus after it has developed a heartbeat, which typically happens at the six-week mark. Under this law, receiving an abortion after six weeks in the state of Georgia is considered first-degree murder, which is punishable with life in prison or even the death penalty. If a Georgian woman plans to travel to another state to have an abortion or gets help by another in doing so, they can “be charged with conspiracy to commit murder, punishable by 10 years’ imprisonment.” The only exception for getting an abortion under this law is if the mother’s life is in danger because of the fetus. This law is on track to go into effect on January 1, 2020.
In addition to Georgia, other states have implemented more stringent abortion laws. Alabama lawmakers have passed a ban on abortion, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Doctors who perform these newly illegal abortions can be imprisoned for 99 years, which is the same amount of time that a rapist serves. This law is also set to go into effect in 2020.
Like many Americans, students and faculty at Weber have firm opinions concerning this controversial law. Hebrew teacher Michal Ilai stated, “as an Israeli living in America, I do not understand how this advanced country can pass a law that is so archaic.” She then continued saying, “many women do not know they are pregnant during the first six weeks. Besides, it is ironic that people who protect this law often believe in capital punishment, and do not have issues with assault rifles being commonplace. I find that absolutely paradoxical.”
Sophomore Lili Stadler is a big advocate for reversing Georgia and Alabama’s new laws. Stadler believes that “abortion is a right and personal decision, and it is not something that should be up for political discussion. The fact that women do not have the right to their own bodies and that the state controls the decision is backwards.” She then stated reasons why she believed that abortion should be a choice. Stadler explained that “with this bill, girls under the age of 10 may have to carry their rapist’s child to term and impoverished women will have to carry a child that they may not personally be ready for.”
In my opinion, these new bans on abortion are ludicrous. What happened to the freedom that comes with being an American citizen? Government officials should not have the right to decide what a women does or does not do regarding their own body. Governor Kay Ivey stated that “life is precious and every life is a sacred gift from God.” Well let me ask you this Governor Ivey, what ever happened to the separation between church and state? On a radio show Governor Ivey “talks about her faith and Christian values and how they guide her as Governor.” The governor should not be permitted to enforce her Christian beliefs, specifically concerning abortion, on all of the people in the state of Alabama. America is a country based off of the values of religious freedom, which these laws contradict.
A tenth grade Weber student who is pro-life, who wishes to remain anonymous due to potential harassment, stated his opinion saying that “once [a fetus] has a heartbeat, I am not okay with aborting it because I think that a person’s life starts once it has a heartbeat. I understand where [pro-choicers] are coming from, but I think the government should regulate abortion. Although, I understand abortion in the case of rape or incest.” Another Sophomore Grant Miller believes that “it is wrong to get rid of potential life, but the government should not be able to regulate abortion.”
These new laws are unethical in many ways. Why should women be forced to have a child that they do not want? Many women get abortions because they do not live in a safe, healthy environment fit for a baby. Many pro-lifers render the foster system as a solution without taking into account that many children in the foster system are “neglected, sexually and domestically abused and sex trafficked.”
Overall, Georgia’s new “heartbeat bill” and Alabama’s new abortion ban is unfair, inhumane and utterly disgusting. Regardless of ones opinion, this is a deeply personal subject and it is important to advocate for ones beliefs no matter what they are.