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Opinion

Women of Alabama, do us a favor and vote out all those men trying to outlaw abortion

Laura Stiller hands out coat hangers as she talks about illegal abortions during a rally against HB3
Laura Stiller hands out coat hangers as she talks about illegal abortions during a rally against a near-total ban on abortion outside the Alabama statehouse in Montgomery on Tuesday.
(Mickey Welsh / Associated Press)

I’m sick of male politicians and judges making decisions about my body.

Do the women of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and all the other states where male-dominated legislatures are trying to outlaw abortion feel the same? If so, they know what to do: Vote those turkeys out of office.

On Tuesday, the overwhelmingly male Alabama state Senate passed the most draconian anti-abortion law yet (only four of the 35 senators are women, none of whom voted for the bill). It would outlaw abortion in any stage of pregnancy and circumstance, other than to save the life of the woman. Doctors who perform abortions could be tried as felons and sentenced up to 99 years in prison. It’s obviously unconstitutional. But that’s the point.

Alabama’s action follows a flood of attempts in other states to restrict access to the point of a de facto ban. Just days ago, the Georgia Legislature (also overwhelmingly male) passed a law prohibiting abortion after six weeks. The only good thing I can say about the 25 men who voted for the Alabama abortion ban Tuesday is that at least they are honest about their intention to entice the Supreme Court to take the case and hope for a reversal of Roe vs. Wade.

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If that happens, then guess what? The question will hinge on the decisions of two more men: Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, conservatives who were appointed by — you guessed — another man. If you’re feeling a sharp sense of “The Handmaid’s Tale” preja vu, join the club.

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I’m sick of this uneven playing field and I hope other women are too. Men still have an unfair advantage in lawmaking, and they are using it to our detriment. Collectively, women make up just a quarter of U.S. state legislators. In only one state are women a majority of the legislators. That would be Nevada, which recently ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. And don’t get me started on the sad state of representation among governors. There are nine at the moment and just 44 in all of American history, according to a Wikipedia count.

This is not to say that all women support abortion access; they don’t. But my bet is they have less enthusiasm about making laws that take away their own right, and that of their daughters and granddaughters, to make perhaps the most important decision in their lives. At the very least, they would fully understand the implications if they did.

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Until and unless more women start running for office, and voting for female candidates when they do run, then we should not be surprised to see more of these appalling laws that treat women as less-than-equal baby vessels.


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