How the state abortion bans will affect the LGBT people
Conservatives in several Southern and Midwestern states are pushing for abortion bans, betting that a more right-wing US Supreme Court would support them.
This is a major problem for the LGBT community as a possibly overturning of the landmark Roe v Wade decision would affect a woman’s constitutional right to her own body, which would affect lesbians and bisexuals.
States pushing for abortion bans and other laws
Georgia has followed Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio to become the fourth US state this year to outlaw abortion once a fetal “heartbeat” is detected by passing a new law.
Targeted against women that don’t even know they’re pregnant, this new law gives a fetus the status of a “class of living, distinct persons” that deserves “full legal recognition.”
On the other hand, Alabama wants to pass a strict abortion law, Human Life Protection Act, which bans abortion from the moment of conception.
Doctors who terminate a pregnancy under any circumstance, other than to save a woman’s life, could face up to 99 years in prison.
“We’ve never seen states passing near-total abortion bans,” said Elizabeth Nash, senior state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit research group that supports abortion rights.
Abortion bans: Against the Constitution
Alabama Republican lawmakers, in pushing for a stringent new bill that would outlaw almost all abortion, have said they knew it would go against current federal law.
“Yes, it’s unconstitutional. All our pro-life bills are unconstitutional right now. That’s the goal,” said state House Rep. Terri Collins, the bill’s sponsor.
Other Republican lawmakers are pushing for laws that restrict women’s access to abortion, from mandating women to wait as long as 72 hours for the procedure, to banning widely used surgical abortion methods.
This is because conservatives are taking a more extreme legal strategy: they want more severe restrictions and near total bans on abortions to push the legal discussion to the US high court.
With the Supreme Court already tilting rightward with the appointment of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh by President Donald Trump, conservatives hope the high court would overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade decision.
Abortion access is an LGBT issue
Lauren Paulk of the National Center for Lesbian Rights pointed out that abortion access is an LGBT issue.
“All LGBT-identified people who could become pregnant are at risk for an unintended pregnancy, and in fact studies have shown that lesbian young women in particular are two to ten times more likely to become pregnant than heterosexual youth,” Paulk said.
She pointed out that lesbian and bisexual women are often at higher risk of sexual assault due in part to their sexual orientation, which may also result in an unplanned pregnancy.
“Abortion access is not just a woman’s issue. It’s a healthcare issue. It’s an economic justice issue. It’s an education issue. It’s a youth issue. It’s an LGBT issue. It is our issue,” she declared.
Meanwhile, Vanessa Shields-Haas, a registered nurse based in New Orleans and a volunteer with the New Orleans Abortion Fund, wrote for Out magazine this year about her experience in getting pregnant.
Shields-Haas warned: “The methods that anti-choice groups employ to restrict a woman’s bodily autonomy are often the same as those used to prohibit LGBTQ+ couples from creating their families.”