On Tuesday night, Alabama’s state legislature passed a bill which bans abortion in almost all cases--including rape and incest. This cruel bill is the most restrictive in the country, with abortion being banned in all cases except for those in which the mother’s life is in danger. Supporters of this move claim that this aligns with their belief that “all life is sacred.”
However, this law would disregard the safety and quality of life of all women and men who can get pregnant. It shows no concern for the lives of rape victims, those in abusive relationships, those with mental illness, those living in poverty, those on medications, those without access to proper healthcare...the list goes on and on. This bill seems to only care about the wellbeing of fetuses and not sentient human beings. History shows that abortion will happen, regardless of what the law dictates. Bans like this will only eliminate safe abortions done by medical professionals and will lead to an increase in backstreet abortions which are dangerous and often prove to be fatal.
In light of these recent attacks on Americans’ reproductive rights and bodily autonomy, Sadhana would like to reiterate that we are staunchly pro-choice and believe that abortion is a decision that should only involve pregnant persons and their medical providers. Lawmakers with no medical or scientific background have no right to enforce laws that interfere with these decisions. And seeing as the United States is not a theocracy, it is unconstitutional to enact laws solely because they reflect the religious beliefs of a particular group. The 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade guaranteed Americans the right to abortion without undue burden, and therefore this bill is stripping the people of their constitutional rights.
As progressive Hindus, laws that attempt to interfere in extremely personal issues such as abortion go against our spiritual values. Hinduism is a varied religion with many scriptures and different schools of thought. There are differing beliefs on which point during pregnancy life enters the embryo, as well as what circumstances justify abortion. While many groups are personally against abortion, they do not attempt to bring their beliefs into the political arena. They believe the decision to follow or deviate from the path of dharma, and to incur good or bad karma, is up to the individual.
Additionally, they acknowledge that abortion is a reality that will continue to occur regardless of the laws that are in place. They advise that the option that causes the least amount of harm to both the parent and the child should be chosen. However, this is highly subjective and varies from case to case. A blanket ban on abortion ignores the reality that every individual seeking abortion has different circumstances than the next.
For these reasons, Sadhana stands with organizations like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU who plan to challenge this bill in court, and we plan to fight to protect the people’s rights over their own bodies.
Picture credit: Arunabho via Pinterest