Racist Voter Suppression Made Alabama’s Abortion Ban Possible
A little less than six years ago, I found myself excitedly holding a positive pregnancy test. Though the timing was sooner than expected, we were fortunate to have the emotional and economic security that allowed us to look forward to welcoming a new baby into our family the following spring. That excitement was soon tempered by more anxiety and pain than I would ever have predicted. As a healthy woman in my late 20s, I somewhat naively expected everything to go smoothly. So I was terrified when I experienced a threatened miscarriage in my first trimester, and crushed when I made it through that only to experience even more problems in my second. At 19 weeks, during a bloody and intensely traumatic emergency room visit, we learned that there was virtually no chance I’d be able to successfully continue the pregnancy. So, like one in four women in the U.S., I had an abortion.
Though heartbroken, I was also lucky to be able to seamlessly transfer to the hospital’s family planning unit and have the procedure I needed to preserve my future fertility and avoid potentially life-threatening infections or complications. There were no protesters, arbitrary delays or out-of-pocket costs; I simply received competent medical care as well as the love and support of my partner and family while I healed. Exactly as it should be.
Few issues so starkly illustrate the dire consequences of minority rule like these extreme abortion bans and the maze of devastating restrictions that preceded them. They are a product of racist voter suppression and partisan gerrymandering; naturally, the people who will be most hurt by these bans are young, low-income people of color whom these same lawmakers work so hard to prevent from voting. This is what happens in a system where a person who loses an election by more than 3 million votes can still occupy the White House, where Republican senators who received 12 million fewer votes than their Democratic counterparts can still control that chamber and confirm unqualified and dangerous people to lifetime positions on our federal courts.