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Rape victim who had illegal abortion aged 13 condemns Alabama's new law as 'abomination'

General May 18, 2019

Rape victim who had illegal abortion aged 13 condemns Alabama's new law as 'abomination'A rape victim who had an illegal abortion at the age of 13 has argued that Alabama’s new law mandating a near total ban on abortion is an “abomination” which punishes “the woman for being a woman”.Maralyn Mosley, an 81-year-old, had her first illegal abortion 22 years before Roe v Wade – the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalised abortion nationwide in 1973.After being raped by a tenant at her aunt’s Birmingham boarding house, Ms Mosley's mother took her to a woman the community went to for clandestine terminations of pregnancy, but the 13-year-old was turned away due to her young age.Ms Mosley was then taken through a door in an alley where she got an abortion at the back of a barbershop from a man who asked for sex before he would do the procedure."I had been raped, and this made me feel like I was useless, like I was violated," Ms Mosley told the Montgomery Advertiser. She said she does not remember a lot of the abortion due to blocking out the memory because it was too painful but that she is able to recall her second illegal abortion far more clearly. The latter abortion she carried out on herself seven years later with knitting needles.Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a controversial abortion bill into law on Wednesday that is the most restrictive abortion bill in the US.Under the law, doctors would face 10 years in prison for attempting to terminate a pregnancy and 99 years for carrying out the procedure. The strict abortion ban, which has been branded a “death sentence for women”, would even criminalise performing abortions in cases of rape and incest. Ms Ivey said the new law might be “unenforceable” due to Roe v Wade but said the new law was passed with the aim of challenging that decision.Ms Mosley said she was "extremely saddened" to see a piece of legislation that would not have protected her 13-year-old self.“We are going to return to the back alleys,” she said. “We are going to return to where women will do abortions to themselves. We will return to the coat hangers and perforated uteruses. We will return to where women will bleed to death. It will be as it was before. It's an abomination."She added: "Abortions cannot be made illegal again. Women, girls and children should not have to go through that. I feel my terrible experience and other women's terrible experiences can be repeated, that we will have more deaths. No one talks about the deaths that occurred from illegal abortions, but there were many."Studies support the view illegal abortions are more dangerous than those carried out in a professional environment. The World Health Organisation estimates that each year between five per cent to 12 per cent of maternal deaths can be attributed to unsafe abortion – with the annual cost of treating major complications from unsafe abortion estimated at $553m (£435m). "I don’t think that, if I had tried to take care of a baby at the age of 13, that I would be able to achieve any of the things I’ve been able to achieve," Ms Mosley said. "I think it is punishing the woman for being a woman."At a minimum, Alabama’s new law will not go into effect for at least six months and implementation could be postponed further by expected legal challenges.While supporters of Alabama’s decision say they expect the law to be blocked in court, they hope that the appeals process will bring it before the Supreme Court. Alarm bells have been raised that Roe v Wade could be overturned or radically undermined with new conservative justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh – both Trump appointees. Alabama state lawmakers compare abortions in America to the Holocaust and other modern genocides in the legislation – spurring Jewish activists and abortion rights groups to rebuke the bill as “deeply offensive".Alabama’s new bill comes as politicians in several other states propose legislation to restrict abortion such as Georgia’s recent heartbeat bill. Some 16 other states are trying to impose new restrictions on abortion.Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have approved bans on abortion once a foetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy. At six weeks, many women do not yet know they are pregnant.


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