The broad wording of Alabama’s proposed Amendment 2 could affect women who miscarry and those seeking in vitro fertilization.
Dr. Yashica Robinson, an obstetrician-gynecologist and one of few abortion providers left practicing in Alabama, said she is concerned the new amendment will pave the way for women who miscarry to be scrutinized under the law. Robinson said one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage by no fault of the mother. “They may have to defend what happened to that pregnancy,” Robinson said. “They may have to prove to someone that didn’t do anything to cause that pregnancy harm.”
Robinson said these restrictions would disproportionately affect low-income women and women of color who statistically have less access to affordable healthcare. Mothers without access to prenatal care could be at risk of prosecution if their pregnancy did not make it to birth.
Women who go through in vitro fertilization could also be affected by the wording in the amendment. Robinson said not all embryos harvested during in vitro are viable or used and could be at risk of government intervention.
Alabama has one of the highest maternal mortality rate in the country. It also has some of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws, including the “48 hour rule” where women must wait 48 hours between receiving counseling on abortion services and receiving abortion care.
Over the last six month some groups in Alabama have put overturning Roe v. Wade at the forefront of their agenda, including Matt Fridy, R-Montevallo, author of Amendment 2 and Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker.
Parker called for the U.S. Supreme Court to review its ruling on Roe v. Wade after Alabama upheld it’s fetal homicide law. Earlier this month, Jessie Livell Phillips was convicted of both killing his wife and their eight-week-old fetus and sentenced to death. Parker called Alabama’s laws a “logical fallacy,” considering a fetus a life for a murder case, but not when it comes to a women’s right to an abortion.
In 2016, Alabama lawmakers voted to ban an abortion procedure, dilation and curettage. A federal judge blocked the law, but now, under the direction of Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, will ask the Supreme Court to review the state’s effort to ban the most common second trimester abortion procedure.
Rick Renshaw with Alabama for a Pro Life Alliance said the fears associated with the passing of Amendment 2 affecting miscarriages and in vitro fertilization are lies and scare tactics put forth by Planned Parenthood.
“The fact of the matter is this, Amendment 2 is a declaration of public policy for the state of Alabama. Any specific statutes that are related to the limits of abortion would be conducted through our duly elected officials. That would only come as a result of reversal of Roe V Wade.”
“We have so many laws that have been taken out of context for what they were in place for,” Robinson said. “Even if you have no passion for abortion, like I do, I have a passion for everything regarding women’s healthcare. We can’t separate them, it’s all on a spectrum. If we don’t vote no on this amendment you could compromise things on that amendment that are important to you.”