WASHINGTON, D.C. - The
National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the nation’s largest
professional social work organization, is deeply troubled by the Alabama legislature’s decision to outlaw
abortion at any stage of pregnancy, including for victims of rape and incest. Further, NASW strongly opposes the law’s
criminalization of physicians. Physicians who perform abortions in Alabama now face
life imprisonment. This is more prison
time than served by individuals convicted of committing rape or incest.
Alabama’s HB 314 is an affront to a woman’s
constitutional right for control over her own reproductive health and punishes
women for their personal health care choices. Only four of the 35 state
Senators voting on HB 314 were women, and two of these women opposed the
bill. Furthermore, the Alabama Senate
voted down amendments to provide additional pre- or post-natal care or
expansion of Medicaid.
In addition, the law has problematic implications in
terms of racial disparities. Highly restrictive abortion legislation like
this disproportionately impacts low-income, Black and Hispanic women because
they often lack the resources to seek an out-of-state abortion.
Alabama’s anti-abortion law is the most punitive of
a growing number of similarly draconian laws that have been passed (or
introduced) in several states, including Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio, and Georgia.
The ulterior motive driving these efforts is to provide a “test case” that will
be accepted for consideration by the Supreme Court, in the hopes of overturning
Roe v. Wade.
It is now up to the federal courts to affirm that
Roe v. Wade is settled law. NASW implores them to overturn this new wave of
unacceptable abortion laws.