A weekly window on the American political scene hosted by the Monitor's politics editors.

Alabama bill marks new phase of abortion battle

Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser/AP
Bianca Cameron-Schwiesow, Kari Crowe and Margeaux Hartline (left to right), dressed as handmaids, take part in a protest against HB314, the abortion ban bill, at the Alabama State House in Montgomery April 17.

Dear reader:
On Tuesday, Alabama’s legislature voted to outlaw abortion in their state. The bill, which the governor signed into law today, includes a penalty of up to 99 years in prison for doctors who perform abortions, at any stage of pregnancy. The only exceptions are when the life of the mother is at risk or the fetus has a “lethal anomaly.”
The ACLU has already announced it plans to challenge the law in court – and that’s the point. Alabama’s legislators envision it as a possible vehicle for overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.
Given the Supreme Court’s new conservative majority, many court-watchers believe Roe’s days may be numbered. As a result, there’s been a flurry of abortion legislation in the states. Conservative states like Georgia have passed “heartbeat bills” that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, typically around six weeks. Liberal states like New York have tried to codify Roe’s protections into state law.
To sort through all this, we recently launched a new series on abortion. In the opening piece, Jessica Mendoza looked at the extent to which Americans’ views on the issue correspond with and have perhaps even shaped our partisan divide. This week, Samantha Laine Perfas tackled some common misperceptions surrounding abortion.
It’s interesting to note that public opinion on abortion hasn’t changed much over the past few decades, even as it has shifted notably on other hot-button cultural issues, such as gay marriage. Overall, a majority of Americans continue to believe abortion should be legal, but with restrictions.
What might change is how much of a priority the issue becomes for voters. Already, Democratic presidential candidates are pouncing on the Alabama bill: “Alabama’s backdoor abortion ban is an unconstitutional attack on women – an attack happening all across America,” tweeted Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren today.
One thing is clear: “Ending Roe won’t end abortion in America – or the fight over abortion,” as the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Dan Horn puts it . It would simply shift the battle to Congress and to the states. “If Roe goes away, laws that previously would have been rejected by the courts will have real consequences, not only for pregnant women, but for politicians, too,” Mr. Horn writes. Which means the abortion wars may be about to enter an entirely new phase.
Let us know what you’re thinking at csmpolitics@csmonitor.com.

Why We Wrote This

The recent flurry of legislation in the states reflects a widespread anticipation that Roe v Wade may be overturned. But that won’t be the end of the abortion wars.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Alabama bill marks new phase of abortion battle
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today