Gov. Kay Ivey signed the new restrictions on ending pregnancies in Alabama, but more has been said recently that the bill was passed by 25 white men in the state Senate – even though the law disproportionately affects black and poor women.
The Alabama state Senate has only four women currently, of which 3 voted against the bill, and one abstained.
Democratic State Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison compared men’s votes on the legislation to a “dentist making a decision about heart surgery”.
Coleman-Madison added that this is the reason we need more women in office.
Women are underrepresented in legislatures across the county, but the question here is whether voting more women into office would necessarily shift the politics of restrictions on endings of pregnancies?
Many women have helped shape the rhetoric of “family values”, which includes the opposition of ending pregnancies, feminism, and gay marriage, and their contributions are often overlooked.
For example, Phyllis Schlafly is among the women that fought against the Equal Rights Amendment that would have outlawed gender discrimination in any law at a local, state, or national level.
The amendment passed through Congress with bipartisan support in the early 1970s, and ratification by the states seemed certain.
Opponents of the Amendment, led by Phyllis Schlafly, marched in front of the White House in Washington D.C., and she mobilized hundreds of thousands of women against the amendment.
They argued that the amendment would make women subject to the military draft, and it would eliminate laws designed to protect women in the workplace.
They also addressed the possibility of consequences that seemed “alarming” to them, including gay marriage and gender-neutral bathrooms.
The amendment failed in 1982 after a lack of sufficient support from the states.
Schlafly was not the only female leader of the Right in this era. There were many other women, including pop singer Anita Bryant, which were very much against the Amendment.
Kay Ivey, the female governor of Alabama, is also a conservative evangelical who has been very vocal about her hope to limit access to ending pregnancies in Alabama. She has also said that it’s time for the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade, and she’s a representative of a larger movement of conservative women who oppose “pro-choicers” very passionately.
These evangelical women overwhelmingly gave their vote for Donald Trump in 2016, and the issue of ending pregnancies played a major role in their choice.
Trump promised them to appoint a pro-life justice at a time where there was an empty Supreme Court seat.
Yet, once again, conservative women are being written out of the whole story.