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Pro-choice supporters in Alabama already preparing for life "after Roe v. Wade"

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The U.S. Supreme Court is currently taking up Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization. It’s a case that could alter abortion access. This could change part of the medical landscape in Alabama. Pro-choice supporters in the State are already preparing for what may be a world after Roe v Wade.

Herb Geraghty is the Executive Director for Rehumanize International. The secular nonpartisan human rights organization opposes violence against human beings at any stage of life and circumstances. It advocates against abortion and also the death penalty.

“I oppose violence against human beings, and that is what abortion is,” said Geraghty. “I always want to drive home that I really don't believe that abortion should be seen as an option.”

With the Supreme Court of the United States taking up a case centered on abortion and women’s health, many pro-life organizations are hoping the litigation will shine a light on alternatives to the medical procedure.

“There are a lot of alternatives to abortion. I think that we see in across the country, but also particularly in Alabama, there are pro-life pregnancy centers that exist to equip women and families and pregnant people with the tools they need to thrive with their pregnancies, as well as after birth,” said Geraghty.

As pro-life organizations push for alternatives to abortion, pro-choice advocates in Alabama are using the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization case to start a conversation about abortion—or the lack there of—in the state.

Robin Marty is the director of operations at Alabama Women's Center in Tuscaloosa. It’s one of the longest running clinics and currently provides about half of the abortions in the state of Alabama, which currently has three open abortion clinics.

“While Roe v Wade is in place, people are supposed to be able to access abortion,” said Marty. “We've seen for decades, literally within years of Roe v Wade being put into effect that because of the cost of abortion, many people are still unable to actually access that care.”

Alabama has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the United States. The rule makes it a crime for doctors to perform abortions at any stage of a pregnancy. That’s unless a woman's life is threatened or there is a lethal fetal anomaly.

“So, we've seen so many people that even with this idea of abortion is supposed to be legal and accessible and available for any person, especially early in their pregnancy, there's simply not able to do that,” said Marty.

One of many possible outcomes of the SCOTUS abortion case is for the power to decide abortions to be turned over to the states. In Alabama, that could mean abortions would all be outlawed with very few exceptions for the procedure.

But Herb Geraghty with Rehumanize International says he wants people going through pregnancy to know there are resources and help in Alabama, if they want or need it.

“Pregnancy centers often provide things such as, you know, classes, prenatal care, as well as sort of the physical things that a new mother might need, such as diapers or baby clothes or formula or a stroller,” said Geraghty. “Don't think that abortion is the only option. There are people likely in your own community that are willing to step up.”

Geraghty says Option Line is a good place to start looking for resources during an unplanned pregnancy. It offers pregnancy options as well as emergency contraception and after-abortion support.

Even if abortion laws in Alabama were different, Robin Marty of Alabama Women's Center says it would still be difficult for people to access the medical procedure.

“Many insurances do not cover abortion, especially here in Alabama,” said Marty. “Medicaid does not cover abortion. There are only 12 states in which a poor person has the ability to use their Medicaid coverage in order to get an abortion. Abortion can cost in the first trimester anywhere from $500 to $800 per procedure.”

Marty says there are resources that can help during an unplanned pregnancy. This includes the Yellowhammer Fund which is an abortion fund and a reproductive justice organization serving Alabama. Another resource is Margins whose goal is to “uplift and strengthen Black women and their ability to parent.”

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