DUELING COLUMN: Abortion should be protected in Florida

Gabriella Pinos/Opinion Director

The notion that all life is sacred apparently doesn’t apply to women in America.

Even though the U.S. Supreme Court declared that women have the right to get an abortion over 40 years ago, our reproductive freedoms are still being challenged.

On Wednesday, May 15, Alabama signed a bill that prohibits abortion unless the mother’s life is at stake. Under the new law, which goes into effect in November 2019, there are also no exceptions if the mother is a victim of rape or incest.

Doctors could also face up to 99 years in prison if they perform an abortion – the same maximum jailtime as a rapist.

This left me and women like Erin Berry, president of the American Civil Liberties Union at FIU, wondering if we had been transported back to the dark ages.

“They’re just policies that are just dangerous for women, that were never relevant but are really not relevant to our times and is just a complete lack of recognition of women as equal people,” said Berry, a third-year law student.

Alabama’s end goal is to challenge Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that gave women the right to have an abortion. They, along with other states, hope that these abortion bans will make the Court revisit its decision and even repeal it.

Why someone would want to take away a woman’s right to her own body, I have no idea. And why any politician, male or female, would want to prevent women from having an abortion after being sexually assaulted is beyond me.

And it’s not just the Millennial, liberal spirit within me saying that. Some of the most stubborn, conservative people in the nation, from President Trump to televangelist Pat Robertson, believe that Alabama’s ban is much too harsh.

But that isn’t enough to stop the Republicans from encouraging this backwards mentality even further.

Case in point: on Friday, May 24, Florida representative Mike Hill announced that he would file an abortion bill like Alabama’s in the 2020 legislative session. The reason? God himself apparently asked him to do so – without exceptions for rape and incest.

Hill had sponsored a heartbeat bill in Florida’s 2019 legislative session, but it never received a hearing. He said the only reason he included the exceptions in the first place was to increase its chances of passing, according to Newsweek.

It’s one of the most disgusting things I’ve heard from a politician. Yes, women, all life is sacred, except for your own when God tells you so.

But Republicans apparently loved it; the bill had 20 co-sponsors, meaning that had it been picked up by the legislature, it would have become law. The fact that at least 21 people in my state legislature want to control what I do with my body is terrifying.

Thankfully, it’s groups like the ACLU and the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates that have fought, and continue to fight, against these attacks on our human rights. As someone who supports these protests herself, Berry plans on organizing an event next Fall to have a discussion and inform students on the issue.

Even so, according to FIU law professor Howard Wasserman, an abortion ban could still take place in Florida, especially in a legislature and executive branch dominated by Republicans.

As much as your 60-year-old Congressman wants you to believe, women don’t want to have an abortion for the fun of it. We want what all men already have in this country: the freedom to choose how we want to live.

And no one, not the state, not the federal government, and not some guy who said a voice from heaven told him to take my rights away, can tell me how to exercise what God already gave me.



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Featured photo retrieved from Wikicommons.

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