Alabama is Just the Beginning

The challenges to Roe vs. Wade are lining up

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Photo by T. Chick McClure on Unsplash

In case you haven’t heard yet, Alabama passed the most controversial and restrictive abortion law in the nation this week. The bill is a near-ban on all abortion, even in the case of rape or incest. It makes it a felony for any doctor to perform an abortion. It is a clear challenge to the established precedent in the United States: Roe vs. Wade. However, it is more than that.

For years, conservative states have tried to challenge Roe; in most cases, the courts have overturned the restrictive bills, citing Roe as legal precedent. However, just in the past few months, Mississippi, Kentucky and Ohio have put “heartbeat” bills into place, and many other states have this type of bill on the docket. In addition, Georgia passed an extremely restrictive law that would place the burden of proof of miscarriage on the mother. Alabama, however, has taken it to another level, and Missouri is quickly following.

By outlawing abortion even in the case of rape or incest, Alabama took a step further than many are willing. The question we often ask in sociology is this: who is making the laws? Who has the authority to make the decisions for the whole? In Alabama, the law was passed by 25 white men. Conflict Theory in action; the powerful few making unpopular decisions for the whole. The real problem emerges when we dig a bit deeper.

Alabama ranks 50th in education, 46th in healthcare, and 49th overall. On their best day, Alabama is not a state that can afford to have more unwanted babies. In fact, the state feels more and more like a dystopian novel. We know that children who fall behind early in their education never get a chance to catch up. If Alabama values lives so much, why are they dead last in education? Where is the leadership to stick up for these kids?

Conflict Theory tells us over and over again that the wealthy and powerful make the rules, even when the rules aren’t popular. 77 percent of Americans think abortion should be legal in cases of rape or incest. 73% of the population does not want to see Roe vs. Wade overturned. So,why have all of these states started making laws that are so restrictive?

They know that the cases will make it to the Supreme Court, and conservative justices might just overturn Roe. That’s the goal. The question still stands: why? It doesn’t seem politically popular, based on the numbers. However, it is critical for certain special interest groups, and those groups are more rabid about this issue than any other. More and more, we are watching our democracy fall into the hands of very few, and if the few control everything, it won’t matter what is politically popular. And what happens then?

Written by

Sociologist. Writer. Observer. Explorer.

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