11-8-20 Women's Right Pro-Choice Protest

A protestor holds her sign during a protest against Amendment 1 on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020 at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge. 

While voting for the 46th U.S. president and various congressional sects, Louisiana voters also voted on Amendment 1 regarding state laws on abortion

On Nov. 3, the results were in: 62% of voters were in favor of adding wording to the state’s declaration of rights specifically restricting the protection of abortion rights in Louisiana.

Abortion has been a controversial topic since the 20th century. Conservative politicians have been trying to limit access and funding to abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling on Roe v. Wade declared it a constitutional right.

Politicians are constantly trying to tell women what to do with our bodies, but the policy change proposed in Amendment 1 should never have been voted on in the first place. Women don’t try to tell men what to do with their bodies, but somehow men feel entitled to control ours.

Women between the ages of 20 and 24 are more likely to get abortions. The changes made by Amendment 1 will impact college students the most, and that means the people right here in our own community. As peers, friends and classmates, we need to stand up against this policy change.

Louisiana is ranked as one of the most conservative states in America, and it shows in our elections. But being conservative is not an excuse to take away women’s fundamental rights. Our state legislature needs to break away from its traditional conservative views, which hold young progressives back.

In the midst of a pandemic, the right to abortion should not be a legislative focal point. Right now, the number of COVID-19 cases in the state is spiking once again.; the Louisiana government needs to figure out how to control the virus before trying to tell women what to do with their bodies.

Supporters of this amendment donated over $600,000 toward its campaign. Instead of donating these funds to limiting abortion rights, they could have donated this money toward improving women’s healthcare that provides birth control and Plan B pills or even funding sex education to prevent unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

The amendment will also have a negative impact on our economy. There are multiple clinics in Louisiana that perform abortions; limiting patients’ access to these procedures would impact the revenue of these clinics and possibly cause them to close. After this year, Louisiana is already facing intense economic hardships and high unemployment rates and cannot afford more jobs lost.

Gov. John Bel Edwards already tried to restrict women’s rights last year with the Heartbeat Bill. Every year, politicians try to find a way to limit access to abortions.

As a woman, I am deeply concerned with the topic of bodily autonomy. Abortion should not be the business of anyone but the woman getting the procedure done — and it definitely should not be the concern of anyone who will never be able to understand the depth of decision-making involved in the process of having one.

Tamia Southall is a 19-year-old mass communication sophomore from New Orleans.

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