If you haven’t been keeping up with reproductive rights happenings in the Southern states, no worries! Here’s what happened on Plea, a dramedy about a group of young adults in Alabama who can’t access birth control because their state legislators are nincompoops!
Several weeks ago, the Alabama House of Reps introduced HB-57, a measure which would require abortion clinics to have a doctor present for every procedure. While this seems okey-dokey in print, HB-57 is really just one of many sneaky bills designed to hurt—not help—clinics and those seeking out abortions. This legislation imposes unnecessary and costly restrictions on providers in the hopes that they will be forced to shut down.
The representative who is sponsoring this bill is Mary Sue McClurkin, a woman who is presumably not of reproductive age. In any case, I sincerely hope she is not shooting herself in the foot by advocating such legislation. HB-57 would not only prevent access to abortions but also counseling, hormonal birth control, and family planning services.
We witnessed this mess happen in Mississippi last year when the state’s lone clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, closed its doors—only to be re-opened when a federal judge, bless his heart, blocked the law. The battle isn’t over for JWHO, though. The Nation has posted a superb article about the area where the clinic is located, its advocates, and its dissenters.
As of right now, Alabama –with five abortion clinics—is slightly better off than its neighbor to the west. As a superstitious Georgian, it almost feels like this legislation is trickling eastward through the south states, my homestate being next. Do not want. On February 19, HB-57 passed through Alabama’s House of Reps with a 73-23 vote last month, and is expected to be voted on by an anti-choice dominant Senate Health Committee this Wednesday at the earliest.
There is absolutely nothing funny about preventing individuals from accessing the varied services provided by these already scarce clinics. But to quote Truvy from Steel Magnolias, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” There is definitely something tragically comical about the insensitive, misguided, and just plain wrong things Alabama legislators have been saying in defense of HB-57.
Now, without further ado, I present you with:
You might be an Alabama anti-choice legislator if…
You believe HB-57 is a women’s rights bill.
(See: Representative MarySue McClurkin)
You think abortion is like destroying an eagle egg.
(See: Senator Shadrach McGill)
You believe that babies are the largest organs in women’s bodies.
(See: Representative Mary Sue McClurkin)