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Bryant’s Gestational Act deprives women of their basic right to abortion

In 1973, the case Roe v. Wade led to the landmark decision that constitutionalized a woman’s access to an abortion under the 14th Amendment.

Historically, due to the strictness of Judeo-Christian belief, American society has been unable to accept abortions and has done everything in its power to keep women from accessing reproductive rights.

Through the years, there has been increased activism for women’s rights — especially in the fight for women to be free from government oppression.

It is unfortunate that a nation that brags about freedom strips women of the most basic human right: the right to make choices for their own body.

Phil Bryant, governor of Mississippi, said, “On this unfortunate anniversary of Roe v. Wade, my goal is to end abortion in Mississippi,” during his 2014 State of the State address.

Bryant is a 63-year-old Republican, which may explain why he wants to restrict or end abortion rights.

Bryant signed the Gestational Age Act on March 19, 2018. The law bans women from getting abortions if the fetus is over 15 weeks old, making no exceptions for incest or rape cases.

Bryant claimed he did this because he believed this law would essentially save the unborn, stating, “We are saving more of the unborn than any state in America, and what better thing we could do.”

This is a major step backward from what the women in this country have fought for.

This law has hurt and angered women across the United States, and it is additionally disappointing because it is utterly unconstitutional.

Roe v. Wade was a groundbreaking decision that ultimately resulted in a constitutional amendment being formed and Bryant is trying to take away this reform along with the fundamental rights of American women.

In response to this disappointing law, U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves placed a temporary hold on it.

Reeves stated that “the law threatens immediate, irreparable harm to Mississippians’ abilities to control their ‘destiny and … body,’” and he could not be more right, for this is more than just a legal issue.

Due to Reeves’ disapproval of the law, the Gestational Age Act was blocked for 10 days under his temporary ban.

That, however, is not enough action. There needs to be more media coverage, political discussion and social activism behind this matter.

This is unconstitutional and inhumane; the government should not meddle in a woman’s decision about whether she wants to terminate a pregnancy.

One of the greatest boundaries to abortion is not only the legal right, but also the access to abortion clinics.

There are simply not enough abortion clinics in several states. This limits women from reaching the medical attention that they immediately need, especially when laws restrict abortions on pregnancies with fetuses older than 15 weeks.

Mississippi is among one of the six states — Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming — with independent abortion care providers where only one clinic is available.

This makes it increasingly difficult for women to gain access to consultations, medication and other procedures related to reproductive rights. In fact, these single clinics have a high chance of being shut down.

Nearly 30 percent have already been closed, which puts an even greater burden on women. They are left with no choice but to travel to a different state in search of a clinic to care for their
medical needs.

With the notion of a 15-week limit, it is hard to imagine how much these women can do in that small window of time.

They must mentally prepare, form a rational decision, plan for expenses during their travel, take time off work and prepare an itinerary at a minimum.

The emotional toll that these women experience to get access to a fundamental right is nonsensical.

It is vital that there is an uproar in the face of Bryant’s decision and the general lack of medical access for women.

Women have suffered long enough in this nation that boasts about life, liberty and freedom.

The roots of these actions stem from the conservative and traditional attitude of the United States that has been present since the founding of this country.

It is unprincipled to mix conservative religious views with politics.

This country should be run on the basis of what is best for its citizens — and right now it is women’s rights.

April 24, 2018

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Farah Khan


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