Ever since Donald Trump's inauguration in January 2017, certain states in the U.S. have been ramping up their anti-abortion legislation. Just this week, the country's most restrictive abortion law was passed in Alabama, proving how dire the situation has become. Living so far away, you may feel unable to help. But there are ways to aid the people fighting back. Here's how to campaign against Alabama's abortion ban from the UK and ensure that anyone who needs an abortion is safe to do so.
On Wednesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed off on a bill that would make abortion almost entirely illegal in the state, reports CNN. It bans performing abortions during any stage of pregnancy — even in cases of rape or incest — with a maximum punishment of up to 99 years in prison. Only if a person's health is at serious risk will an abortion be permitted.
As Sky News reports, 16 states in the U.S. have recently passed legislation to restrict abortion rights. So-called "heartbeat" bills — which aim to ban abortions as soon as a foetal heartbeat is detected — have been passed by more than one state. This could be as early as six weeks, reports Vox; a stage by which most people do not even know they are pregnant.
Alabama's new law hasn't come into effect just yet. In fact, it won't be enforceable for another six months. But, as NPR reports, it is designed to go all the way to the Supreme Court and challenge Roe v. Wade; a 1973 ruling that decided access to a safe and legal abortion was a constitutional right.
Abortion rights organisations are already planning to file lawsuits and ask a federal judge to temporarily block the bill, according to CNN. It's therefore likely that, as with every other abortion-related state restriction, this one will be held up in court for years to come.
But campaigners in the U.S. still need all the help and support they can get. UK politicians do not have the power to influence U.S. law, so contacting them is unlikely to be a fruitful task. (The only thing it may do is urge them to reconsider certain business and political relationships.) Instead, you can use your own influence to make a difference.
People, including celebrities such as Busy Philipps, Jameela Jamil, and Milla Jovovich, have been sharing their abortion stories on Twitter, using the hashtag #youknowme. Retweeting and supporting campaigns like these will only make the movement stronger.
Alternatively, you can start your very own social media campaign to raise awareness of the inequality that could eventually become a reality. And don't be afraid of reaching out to campaigners in the U.S. to see what they think might help, whether it's an IRL protest or online petition.
If you have any cash to spare, consider donating to the likes of Planned Parenthood. For decades, the organisation has given people access to reproductive healthcare. It is one of the big names planning to fight back against Alabama's abortion ban. Any donations will continue that mission. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is also a good name to support.
Even if you aren't able to personally donate, you can still raise money. Why not pledge to run a race in aid of the above organisations? Or organise a cake sale in your office, giving all the proceeds to the organisation. Fundraising can be done in myriad ways. All it takes is some motivation.
The potential to strip millions of people of one of a human right should be motivation enough.