If you’ve been on social media at all within the past week, you’ve most likely witnessed an upheaval of teenage girls typing in all caps on their Instagram stories. Their messages range from advocating women’s rights to framing all Republicans as rape enthusiasts. I’m not here to do any of that today, but I am going to discuss the public’s reaction to Alabama’s new anti-abortion bill.
I’m sure you’ve heard of this notorious proposal already passed in the United States Senate, but in case you’re completely clueless, I’ll provide a quick summary of what the bill instigates.
If you’d like to read the actual proposal you can here. A main feature of the bill states “UNBORN CHILD, CHILD or PERSON. A human being, specifically including an unborn child in utero at any stage of development, regardless of viability.” In other words, human life begins at conception. The moment that the sperm cell touches the egg? Yeah, that’s considered a living being according to The Alabama Human Life Protection Act. So in Alabama, all abortions would be prohibited regardless of what stage the “unborn baby” is in, because an abortion at any point is considered to be killing a human being. This suggestion goes directly against Roe v Wade, a Supreme Court landmark case which ruled that the restriction of legal abortions prior to the time a fetus is likely to survive independent of the mother’s womb was unconstitutional. Other cases that allow the regulation of abortion have been passed, but for the most part, the decision made in Roe v Wade has remained as a strong precedent for all abortion cases nationwide.
The conservative lawmakers in Alabama, who are behind this bill, are purposely attempting to get their to-be law in the hands of the Supreme Court Justices in order to challenge the past rulings that have determined an embryo as less than a life.
I don’t want to get too caught up in the logistics of the ongoing pro-life, pro-choice argument, but The Alabama Human Life Protection Act or “Alabama Anti-Abortion Bill” has propelled many of us into a fight between women’s rights and babies’ rights, with the bill more in support of the ladder.
Naturally, a lot of women across the world are reacting negatively to this proposed bill, especially as it was already passed in the Senate and is currently gaining support in the House. Many of them see it as a violation of their rights. Objectively, it may be hard to grasp how the ability to terminate one’s offspring can be considered an unalienable right. As a woman myself, I can empathize with how a lot of people have taken this bill as an infringement on their individual rights. There are so many scenarios that may not be medically proven in which a woman simply cannot take care of a baby. Thus, this bill threatens the potential wellbeing of mothers who don’t really have the means to be mothers. On the other side, this bill empowers the potential humans who have not been born by giving them the right to, well, be born.
Instead of focusing on this dilemma, trending posts on social media work to attack the other side by fabricating arguments and attempting to use irrelevant information in order to frame the opposition.
Here’s a post that has made an appearance at least a hundred times on my Instagram feed lately. And I agree with the “feminists” on their rage for this one. The quotes provided in this image are disgusting; there’s no other word for it, but their relevance to this issue seems to be a bit of a stretch, especially given that less than 1.5% of all abortions in the United States are a result of rape.
Instead of protesting the bill itself, an overwhelming amount of people have resulted in villainising all conservatives on social media. This conflict has evolved from a war on human rights and women’s rights to (as arguments usually end up becoming in today’s politics) a partisan war.
How productive can outrages on social media be if all they’re insisting for is that male governors just stop doing their jobs? And don’t get me wrong, I understand the frustration that my fellow women have with abortion laws primarily being made by men, but as we’ve witnessed, strong arguments don’t stem from whining on Twitter.
It feels like this issue has been rendered to a petty drama between schoolgirls when it should be regarded as more than that. Ironically, the people who seem to be the most bothered by this bill are the ones spreading posts like the two above, focusing not on what the bill proposes, but on the less relevant information associated with it.
Some of these trending posts spur hypocrisy, which is always a symptom of a weak argument. I’m sure the intentions behind these pro-women posts are good in nature, but in execution, they fall short and unfortunately, in this case, execution is what matters.
I’m not the only one bothered with this widespread social media protest; the other day at lunch, the girls at my table expressed their annoyance with it too. I asked my friend, Jennifer, why she felt irritated by the situation, to which she said “why are we wasting time posting the same things over and over again. Is that going to change anything? Why don’t we do something actually effective if we truly want a change?”
Personally, my problem isn’t with the repetition; it’s with the posts themselves. We should work to create effective and relevant arguments and spread those, rather than the trendy claims that lack critical thinking.