Events of the past few weeks have provided important and troubling examples of the real - and dangerous - intent of those who want to overturn Roe v. Wade and recriminalize abortion.
In Alabama, the legislature added a new burden to an already burdensome law that requires young women who need an abortion to either get their parent's consent or go to court for judicial permission. In that judicial proceeding, a judge determines if a young woman is mature enough to make the decision for herself or if it would be, in the judge's view, in her best interest. The new legislation makes this frightening law even more oppressive. It now also mandates that a guardian ad litem be appointed to "represent" the interests of the teenager's embryo or fetus. This new attack on the rights and personhood of young women received excellent mockery on the Daily Show. But as NAPW's Sara Ainsworth wrote in her RH Reality Check commentary, guardians appointed for fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses under other state laws have also asked judges to force pregnant women to have cesarean surgeries, lock pregnant women up in treatment programs, and send pregnant women to jail.
And while Alabama is giving lawyers to fetuses, Indiana last week convicted Purvi Patel of "feticide" for attempting to end her pregnancy through a self-induced abortion. As NAPW's press statement explained, this conviction contradicts "pro-life" claims that those who wish to end abortion believe in "protecting, not punishing" women. Bustle's coverage of Ms. Patel's conviction featured NAPW's perspective:
In this case, Indiana prosecutors equated neglect of a newborn with terminating a pregnancy and claimed the state has the right to lock up women suspected of attempting a self-abortion for as much as 70 years. This case and the verdict should send shockwaves through everyone who has an opinion about the right to choose abortion.
Why? Because so-called "pro-life" organizations and leaders have long claimed that "pro-life legislators and pro-life leaders do not support the prosecution of women" and that "if Roe is overruled, no woman would be prosecuted for self-abortion." The conviction of Ms. Patel demonstrates that those who seek to ban and recriminalize abortion are in fact seeking to control, punish, and ultimately lock up pregnant women. NAPW is proud that our research and advocacy in Ms. Patel's case has helped to publicly expose the truth about what abortion opponents really intend.
Please support NAPW's fight to stop the dangerous shift toward criminalizing women who have abortions, as we help challenge Ms. Patel's conviction in Indiana. Please support our fight for pregnant women's civil and human rights, as we