Alabama has made a home in the headlines after Governor Kay Ivey signed the Alabama Human Life Protection Act – the countries most restrictive abortion law to date. In response women everywhere have used whatever platform they have to share their opinions and experiences, the most popular one being social media. Several hashtags have popped up to encourage and destigmatize the dialogue surrounding abortions such as #ShoutYourAbortion and #YouKnowMe, and while many agree that sharing these stories are important, others – like this OB/GYN – also think that a woman shouldn’t have to share or have a traumatic story for her right to choose to be respected.
This OB/GYN responded to the new abortion law in Alabama in a powerful post that has since gone viral
An obstetrician-gynecologist with almost 17-years of experience shared a post on the website Scary Mommy as a response to Alabama’s law, that only allows abortions to prevent a serious health risk. OB/GYNs found breaking this law could face up to 99-years in prison or even a life sentence. She began by inviting people to come into her exam room “just for a moment, to listen to the stories I have heard from women. Listen carefully to what is said to me behind closed doors.”
She mentioned the multiple reasons women had given for their procedures that ranged from economic to medical to mistakes to rape. There has been much controversy surrounding Alabama’s law even among religious conservatives over the fact that it does not allow exceptions for rape or incest.
In 2004 the Guttmacher Institute conducted a survey completed by 1,209 abortion patients at 11 large providers and in-depth interviews with 38 women at four sites. They found the most frequently cited reasons were: that having a child would interfere with a woman’s education, work or ability to care for dependents (74%); that she could not afford a baby now (73%); and that she did not want to be a single mother or was having relationship problems (48%). Nearly four in 10 women said they had completed their childbearing, and almost one-third were not ready to have a child.
At the end of the post, the OB/GYN finished by saying that the reasons why a woman was seeking an abortion didn’t matter, “You don’t need a reason other than, this is your choice.” She added that if people were sent to prison for treating their patients then “we have gone too far.”