Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who has emerged as a leader among progressive Democrats, denounced Alabama’s abortion ban after it was signed into law on Wednesday night.
“Abortion bans aren’t just about controlling women’s bodies,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “They’re about controlling women’s sexuality. Owning women. From limiting birth control to banning comprehensive sex ed, U.S. religious fundamentalists are working hard to outlaw sex that falls outside their theology.”
“Ultimately, this is about women’s power,” the freshman congresswoman continued. “When women are in control of their sexuality, it threatens a core element underpinning right-wing ideology: patriarchy. It’s a brutal form of oppression to seize control of the 1 essential thing a person should command: their own body.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s tweets came shortly after Alabama’s Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law the most restrictive reproductive legislation since 1973, when the Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide.
Ivey said the bill, the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, a “powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious & that every life is a sacred gift from God.”
The passage of the bill led Jenna Lowenstein, Sen. Cory Booker’s deputy presidential campaign manager, to contribute to the campaign of his rival, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Her intent was to help New York senator qualify for the first Democratic debate “to ensure @SenGillibrand’s important perspective” is reflected on the stage. Gillibrand has made reproductive rights a signature issue in her campaign.
Alabama is one of at least seven states to pass stricter abortion laws this year. In April, Ohio passed a bill that would outlaws abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. Kentucky, Mississippi and Georgia have similar laws.
Hours after Alabama’s legislation was signed, Missouri’s Republican-led Senate passed a wide-ranging bill to ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy.
The laws have been met with legal challenges and protests. In Georgia, several television and film companies announced last week that they will no longer work in the state after Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill that would criminalize abortions after six weeks of gestation — before many women even know they are pregnant.
Abortion rights opponents in those states hope President Trump’s appointment of more conservative justices will lead to a successful challenge of the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.
“What we’re seeing now is much more of a full-frontal attack,” Elizabeth Nash, a senior state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, told Yahoo News. “We are seeing a real shift away from the incremental strategy that dominated abortion laws for decades and now we’re seeing the goal of banning abortion outright.”
“They are playing political games with women’s lives,” added Staci Fox, president of Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates. “They know and say publicly that these laws are unconstitutional and they don’t care.”