Alabama gears up for abortion fight activists thought was history

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Alabama gears up for abortion fight activists thought was history

Deutsche Welle

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Alabama gears up for abortion fight activists thought was history
Alabama gears up for abortion fight activists thought was history. picture-alliance/dpa/AP/The Montgomery Advertiser/M. Welsh
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“Abortion is OK!” read a fluttering banner trailed by a light aircraft across the bright blue Alabama sky on Wednesday — a message sponsored by pro-choice organizations in their latest riposte to a stringent new bill that would outlaw almost all abortions in the state. At one point it passed directly over the dome of Alabama’s State Capitol building, a landmark that has fast become the latest frontline in a fight for reproductive rights that most activists assumed they had put to bed in the 1970s, when Roe v. Wade, the case that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to end a pregnancy, was enshrined in law.

Inside the grandiose government building, however, lawmakers pressed on undeterred. Just one day after the Republican-led state senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of a text that would only permit abortion if a woman’s life was in danger and punish doctors who perform abortion with life in prison, Governor Kay Ivey signed off on it. “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and every life is a sacred gift from God,” she wrote in statement.

Read more: Germany’s medical system sidelines abortion

And yet, the bill’s opponents are also numerous. Only 16% of Southerners believe abortion should be illegal in all cases, according to a 2018 survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. By Wednesday, many of the pro-choice activists who had come to the State House to protest clad in bonnets and capes from the “Handmaid’s Tale” had retreated — albeit to reorganize — at a place they call the POWER (People Organizing for Women’s Empowerment and Rights) House. In a quiet neighborhood, its porch, bedecked with flags supporting social justice issues, sticks out. Next door to it is an abortion clinic, baring the banner: “This clinic stays open.”

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