I feel the need to comment on two headlines that appeared on the same day this past week.
- U.S. Births Fell to a 32-year Low in 2018
- Alabama Gov. Signs Nation’s Strictest Abortion Bill
I guess I’ve been harboring a misconception about deep south, deep red states like Alabama. I’ve always thought of them as being populated by backward, ultra conservative, religious zealots of the type who would sooner believe in some money-grabbing televangelist than, say, evolution.
But maybe I wasn’t giving them enough credit.
Now, it’s true that Alabama should probably opt for a redesign of its state flag so it doesn’t look like somebody’s answer on a survey questionnaire (“Question #3: Place a CHECK MARK in this box if you think people in Alabama are reasonably intelligent. DO NOT USE X’s.”). And perhaps Montgomery, AL should consider repealing its actual law that makes it illegal to open an umbrella on the street. (Yes, that’s right: in Montgomery you can only use an umbrella when it rains indoors.)
And maybe the state constitution is due for some editing seeing as how it is the longest still-operative constitution in the world. It is 40 times longer than the U.S. Constitution. And, whereas the U.S. Constitution has a measly 27 amendments, Alabama’s has 900! Seriously! I guess it takes that many amendments to get folks–especially black ones and female ones–to do what you want them to do.
But apparently the politicians in The Yellowhammer State are more progressive than I thought they were. Because, unlike most states, Alabama has decided to step up and do something about America’s declining birthrate problem.
Alabama gave the matter some serious consideration and came to the conclusion that, if you want more babies, the easiest thing to do is force women to have them whether they want them or not.
And Alabama didn’t ban abortions half-heartedly like namby-pamby Georgia and Ohio. No exceptions for rape or incest. None of this “it’s okay before there’s a heartbeat” bullshit. Yup, Alabama’s all in, baby . . . to the extent that even Pat Robertson thinks they’ve gone too far! And if Pat Robertson thinks your anti-abortion bill is too draconian, you might just want to ease up a bit.
According to this bill, even if all you are is a few cells dividing, you’ve got full human rights. That definition is kind of self-serving for Alabama politicians. After all, if a heart and brainwaves were required in order to be considered a person, Alabama’s entire state government wouldn’t qualify.
I know, I know. All the pundits are saying that no one really expects this law to go into effect. Supposedly its purpose is to get Roe v. Wade overturned by a Supreme Court consisting of conservative justices who have been accused of sexual misconduct. But maybe by the time Alabama’s law gets to the Supremes, Ruth Bader Ginsburg will have kicked the bucket, and it will be even more conservative than it is now. Maybe the next person Trump nominates will be Rudy Giuliani. Maybe they’ll think Alabama’s law doesn’t go far enough . . . that it would be better if, instead of abortion doctors getting 99 years in prison, they get shot with an AK-47. Because nothing says “right to life” more than legalized assault weapons.
Meanwhile, while the ACLU and Planned Parenthood are busy suing, America’s birthrate will keep declining, and everyone knows it’s our birthright to have a high birthrate. In fact, I believe that right is protected by Amendment Number 678 in Alabama’s constitution. (“White men shall go forth and multiply with women of any age.”)
Of course, another way to improve the birthrate might be to make the prospect of having kids more attractive, possibly with affordable health care and good public education, two categories in which Alabama, unsurprisingly, ranks 46th and 50th respectively. But that may be just because of bias by the healthier, better-educated states.
I think we can all agree, however, that if we are going to take action to get the U.S. birthrate headed in the right direction, the last place we want to do it in is Alabama.
Really, the birthrate among Alabamans can’t be low enough.
See you soon.