9 Fears Related to the Alabama Abortion Law
On Wednesday, May 15, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law a bill which criminalizes doctors who perform abortions in the state. This is being called the “most restrictive abortion bill in the country.” And everybody’s afraid. Everybody.
Here are 9 fears related to the bill. Which of these are most important to you?
Looks like it was never meant to be a secret: one of the express purposes of Bill 341 is to eventually challenge Roe v Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision most influential in legalizing abortion on demand. And it’s no secret that the possibility of the law’s overturning spells nightmare for pro-choice Americans. At least for now, the threat might also spell opportunity for numerous 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, who seem to be lining up to condemn the bill in ever-stronger terms. From the pro-choice perspective, a bastion of human rights is in danger of being bulldozed by “Bible-bullies.”
Another fear is for the doctors. After all, the bill makes performing an abortion in Alabama a felony, punishable by anywhere from 10 years to life in prison. One Alabama-based OB-GYN expressed her fear that the bill will discourage physicians from even just trying to help: “Physicians will be unwilling to help patients in need, even when continuing pregnancy is detrimental to a patient’s health or potentially fatal, out of fear of being scrutinized by the criminal justice system.”
The go-to response to pro-life concerns about the unborn is that it’s the woman’s right to choose. That is, to choose what happens to her own body. This response assumes that the unborn baby is a part of the woman’s body, an assumption which pro-lifers challenge both scientifically and philosophically. Nonetheless, a major fear surrounding Bill 341 is that women will no longer be able to control their own bodies. Rather, their bodies—which they see as the last remaining area of autonomy in a still-patriarchal world—will be controlled by lawmakers.
What will become of these unwanted babies? Again, the assumption is rightfully challenged: unwanted? There is no such thing as an unwanted baby. We all probably know couples who would give anything to be able to raise and love that baby—whatever the baby’s physical defects or emotional baggage. Still, pro-choicers are afraid for the well-being of the baby after he or she is born. And though snuffing out the child’s life is a horrendous “solution,” it is true that we all ought to care about what happens to children after birth.
Some pro-life Republicans are afraid the bill goes too far. Notably, there are no exceptions in Bill 341 for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, which some pro-lifers believe ought to be grounds for abortion. The assumption behind this criticism seems to be that killing a baby is a lesser evil than forced pregnancy.
Other pro-lifers have criticized the bill, not because they see it as too extreme in principle, but rather because they see it as too unrealistic in its prospects. They believe that, because the bill seems extreme compared to other pro-life measures, it has less chance of doing well when it arrives at the Supreme Court. The backlash has already started, with abortion titans such as Planned Parenthood and ACLU vowing a fight.
It is indeed nightmarish to consider how many babies abortion has killed in America. Many of us fear more death of these innocent, vulnerable, and precious humans.
Many of us fear God’s wrath for being a nation who has collectively yawned since 1973 while over 60 million of our babies have been aborted. Among the 6 things “the Lord hates” is “hands that shed innocent blood” (Prov. 6:17), and there are none more innocent than unborn babies. Jesus took the little children in His arms (Mark 10:16) and rebuked His disciples for thinking little of them. He threatened to make drowning by millstone look like an inviting alternative to the punishment that awaits the person who messes with children (Matt. 18:6).
Paradoxically, this final fear arises from our confidence in God’s love. We rightly love this God who forgives adulterers like David, persecutors like Paul, and who just as surely desires to forgive mothers who have consented to abortion and the physicians that have performed the abortions.
Even still, from a position of relational confidence, we have a possible reason to fear. As friends of God, forgiven and free, we discover that it’s even more fearsome to hurt our Friend than it ever was to merely flout His laws. We fear God’s tears, because we love Him. True, we fear His wrath toward the actions of a rebellious nation. But even more so, we fear His grief toward the inaction of an apathetic church.
We have every reason to believe that abortion hurts God’s heart. This being the case, we ought to hurt when He hurts. We ought to feel what He feels. And we ought to fear seeing His tears because of our indifference. Make peace with people. But don’t make peace with that which has killed multiple millions and which threatens to kill millions more.