Navigating the emotional discourse surrounding Alabama’s recent abortion law changes

Recent abortion bill HB314, also known as the “Alabama Human Life Protection Act” forbids women from terminating a pregnancy once a heartbeat can be detected usually between six to eight weeks.

The bill has caused upset for a number of reasons. Women feel that their bodies are being controlled, that they are being told by old, white men that they are not allowed exercise their reproductive rights and that they are being forced to have children that they don’t want.

Pro-choice protests have been seen springing up like wildfire. Others disagree. Alongside pro-choice protesters, pro-lifers celebrate this bill.

They see this as a win, as the right thing to do — that human life is being protected from murder and that if you don’t want to become pregnant, you should abstain from sex in the first place. With such an emotionally charged issue, it’s hard not to take an aggressive stance on either side. However, there are a number of things to consider for the debate to be fully fleshed out. Women should be protected by the law to command their bodies as they wish.

The law should aid each and every individual in the practice of using their rights to their full extent. There should be nothing forbidding a woman from ending a harmful pregnancy.

On the other hand, if we want the law to protect individual rights and aid vulnerable groups, many believe we ought to protect unborn babies just the same as we would any other individual. Policy aside, so we can focus fully on the grander moral issue, I believe that, especially with something like this where there really is no right answer (because it is a debate of deeply personal ethics), the best thing to have is a middle ground — a separation of state law and personal ideals.

If you want to have an abortion, it’s your body. You should be able to have one. If you want to protect a life because you believe that an unborn baby is a life, then don’t have an abortion. Abstain if you wish, use birth control if you want, or don’t, and choose what you want to do for your own reasons. Do not ask others to have an abortion.

Do not ask others to abstain from one. Listen to their reasons, and reflect on your own. This is the middle ground that I see. We fall short of a productive discussion on abortion when the goal is to sway someone to another side of the argument.

You are allowed to believe that abortions are morally wrong, because of religious reasons or otherwise.

You are also allowed to consider abortions as a form of birth control.

Personally, I have no idea what I would do — since I’ve never been pregnant, and if I was, I have no idea if I’d choose to get an abortion or not because I’ve never been in that emotional position and do not know what my life would be like at that time. I do believe it is a woman’s choice because it’s her body. I do not believe men should be entirely out of the equation because the child is conceived together and should be spoken about together.

Husbands, boyfriends or lovers’ opinions on the matter, when faced with the situation, are entirely valid — but only count as much as the woman weighs them to.

A larger consideration is that I do not believe we should be having sex with anyone we would not be able to comfortably have the uncomfortable abortion conversation with.

Our sex partners should be compassionate, opinionated on a matter concerning what is partially their child, but understanding of our choices as potential mothers, even if they are not supportive of them morally, regardless of if we choose to have an abortion or not.

This issue is one of ultimate libertarianism.

I see no solution coming from full legality or illegality, but rather from respecting one another as individuals faced with moral choices and beliefs of right and wrong. Do what you wish with your pregnancy, and I’ll do what I wish — but do not try to convince me to use my body or beliefs as you think they should be used.

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