Abortion Bans Prompt Significant Protests in Pasadena and Across the U.S.

Over 500 people attend rally at Pasadena City Hall Tuesday evening

By Terry Miller

The state of Alabama last week enacted the strictest abortion law in the country, making performing the procedure a felony at any stage of pregnancy with close to no exceptions.

Perhaps one of the most of heated political potatoes is once again facing the landmark 1973 Roe V. Wade decision which is still law, for now. The Supreme Court ruled that a state law that banned abortions (except to save the life of the mother) was unconstitutional. The ruling made abortion legal in many circumstances.

On Tuesday evening approximately 500 men, women and children took to the steps of Pasadena City Hall to voice their considerable objections to the most recent attempts to overturn the 1973 ruling. While the signs carried varied in content, the message was abundantly clear.

Governors in Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio have approved laws that ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected — usually around six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant. Missouri and Louisiana are close to enacting similar prohibitions.

“We have fought — and will continue to fight — these bans in the courts, and we are proud to join today with our partners and people around the country to fight these bans in the streets,” the ACLU said in a statement ahead of the day’s protests.

“For years, the Alabama legislature has been passing laws that push abortion out of reach. Now politicians have finally shown their true colors and are trying to ban abortion outright.

On Wednesday last, Governor Ivey signed H.B. 314 — one of the most extreme attacks on the right to abortion in recent memory — into law. H.B. 314 outlaws virtually all abortions in the state and criminalizes doctors who provide this safe and constitutionally protected health care, threatening them with up to 99 years in prison.”

Donald Trump apparently favors exceptions in abortion bans, or so he tweeted Saturday night. “As most people know, and for those who would like to know, I am strongly Pro-Life, with the three exceptions – Rape, Incest and protecting the Life of the mother – the same position taken by Ronald Reagan,” Trump wrote May 19.

As a direct response to 15 abortion bans passed in states across the country, Planned Parenthood partnered with leading organizations in Pasadena and across the U.S. to “Stop The Bans” on Tuesday, May 21.

Planned Parenthood activated its 13 million supporters to attend protests at state capitols and courthouses in all 50 states, alongside its partners: All* Above All Action Fund, ACLU, EMILY’s List, Indivisible, MoveOn, NARAL Pro-Choice America, UltraViolet and Women’s March. “Support for abortion access is at a record high according to Planned Parenthood —more than 7 in 10 Americans do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned,” a press release stated.

“This day of action hopes to send a loud and clear message to politicians: Banning abortion is dangerous, deeply unpopular, and people will not stand for it,” a statement from Planned Parenthood said.

After Roe v. Wade, there was a concerted effort by anti-choice forces in Congress, in state legislatures and in the courts to enact refusal laws. Over the years, these laws have expanded to include individual health-care professionals as well as hospitals, employers, health insurers and pharmacies. A federal refusal law even allows institutions to refuse to provide referrals for abortion care.

In some states, that means your local pharmacy could refuse to fill your prescription for birth control. And it means a Catholic hospital could refuse to provide abortion care for a woman whose health is at risk.

Over the weekend, thousands of newspapers, television stations and websites devoted space to the “draconian” laws against abortion currently being written into law. None, however, was more succinct than New York Times author Andrew Sullivan.

“The real reason we are now seeing a batch of truly extreme bills in red states outlawing it. It’s all about ginning up a Supreme Court case now that pro-lifers may have a majority, with Brett Kavanaugh ensconced. The Alabama measure, signed by the governor this week, bars legal abortion even for rape and incest cases. It threatens doctors with up to 99 years in jail for performing one. It doesn’t target women for legal punishment, as some have falsely claimed, but it’s so draconian that even Pat Robertson has demurred and Kevin McCarthy has disavowed it,” Sullivan wrote in NY Times Magazine on May 17.

The Roman Catholic Church says that deliberately causing an abortion is “a grave moral wrong.” It bases this doctrine on natural law and on the written word of God.” The Church says that human life begins when the woman’s egg is fertilized by a male sperm. Since the 16th century, causing or having an abortion led to automatic excommunication.

This is stated in the Code of Canon Law (1983): “A person who actually procures an abortion incurs automatic excommunication.”

The Church condemned abortion as early as the second century CE: a document called the Didache, written in the second century (sometime after 100 CE), states: “You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.”

Some Catholics disagree with the Vatican’s line on abortion.

They put forward arguments like these against enforcing a total ban on abortion:

  • Although Church teaching has for a long time stated that a fetus becomes a person when the egg is fertilized, distinguished theologians such as Augustine and Aquinas said this didn’t happen until between 40 and 80 days after conception.
  • Other Catholics might argue that the Church has a fixed position on the right to life of the fetus nonetheless.
  • The Church has affirmed the right and the responsibility of each Catholic to follow his or her own conscience on moral matters, even when it conflicts with Church teaching.
  • The Church has not declared that its teaching on sexual and reproductive issues is infallible.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., spoke out against attempts to limit legal abortion. “When women are in control of their sexuality, it threatens a core element underpinning right-wing ideology: patriarchy,” she said. “It’s a brutal form of oppression to seize control of the one essential thing a person should command: their own body.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said, “Republicans are on the march to overturn Roe v. Wade. And thanks to Donald Trump stacking the courts with anti-choice judges, that could be a real possibility. Access to safe, legal abortion is a constitutional right — and we’re going to fight this with everything we’ve got.”

May 23, 2019

About Author

tmiller Terry Miller has been in the newspaper business for 35 plus years, following in the footsteps of his father who was a Foreign Correspondent for the London Daily Telegraph when the family sailed to New York from London abroad the Queen Mary. When not shooting pictures, chasing a breaking news story. or playing drums, Miller spends entirely too much time and effort with Little British Sports Cars like his beloved 74 MGB...more like an addiction, says his wife of 22 years.

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