The WBA Condemns Alabama’s Abortion Ban
Recent Spate of Antiabortion Laws Threaten Women's Constitutional Rights
BOSTON, MA - May 20, 2019 - The WBA condemns the Alabama Legislature for passing and Governor Kay Ivey for signing the most restrictive anti-abortion law since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade forty-six years ago. The “Human Life Protection Act,” which takes effect November 15, 2019, makes it a Class A felony to perform an abortion, resulting in potential prison sentences of 10 to 99 years. An exception exists in cases where an abortion is necessary to prevent a serious health risk to the mother and the definition of abortion does not include termination of pregnancy when the fetus has a “lethal anomaly” or there is an ectopic pregnancy.
New antiabortion bills have passed in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Utah, and similar bills are pending in other states. While likely unenforceable under current law, these bill signal a desire by lawmakers to invite a legal challenge that will compel the Supreme Court to review the law and ultimately revisit its decision in Roe v. Wade.
The WBA opposes these efforts by Alabama and other states that are determined to erode the constitutional right afforded to women to control their own reproductive health. This is an attack on the agency of women, pure and simple. Moreover, the restraints on medical professionals undermine basic common sense. “As an organization committed to protecting the rights of women in society, the WBA is deeply frustrated by the fact that in 2019, rather than being able to move women ahead in their professions and inspire them, we are fighting our oldest battles to prove that women are entitled to be treated equitably in the United States.” said WBA President Jennifer Saubermann.
One of the WBA’s state legislative priorities for 2019-2020 is “An Act to Remove Obstacles and Expand Abortion Access,” or the ROE Act. The ROE Act would expressly state a right to abortion in Massachusetts, remove mandatory parental consent and 24-hour waiting period provisions, and establish safety net abortion care for individuals who do not have health insurance.
The WBA has been a leader in protecting reproductive rights in the Commonwealth for more than 40 years. The WBA successfully worked to pass laws lifting the ban on abortion coverage for public employees and their families; for sexuality education; for buffer zones between reproductive health clinics and protesters; for equitable coverage under health plans for contraceptive and hormone replacement therapy coverage; for timely access to emergency contraceptives without a prescription; for confidentiality in health insurer communications with their members on sexual and reproductive health services; and to codify the access to cost-free preventive care for women from ACA into state law, protecting access to no-copay birth control by requiring insurers cover all contraceptive measures approved by the FDA.
To learn more about the ROE Act and the WBA’s legislative priorities, visit https://wbawbf.org/legislative-priorities.
Please contact your legislators and ask them to support passage of the ROE Act. To find your legislators visit: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator.
About the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts
Founded in 1978 by a group of activist women lawyers, the Women’s Bar Association boasts a large membership of accomplished women lawyers, judges, policy makers, and law students across Massachusetts. The WBA is committed to the full and equal participation of women in the legal profession and in a just society. The WBA works to achieve this mission through committees and taskforces, and by developing and promoting a legislative agenda to address society’s most critical social and legal issues. Other WBA activities include drafting amicus briefs, studying employment issues affecting women, encouraging women to enter the judiciary, recognizing the achievement of women in the law, and providing pro bono services to women in need through its sister organization, the Women’s Bar Foundation.
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