WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the nation’s largest professional social work organization, is deeply troubled by the Alabama legislature’s decision to outlaw abortion at any stage of pregnancy, including for victims of rape and incest. Further, NASW strongly opposes the law’s criminalization of physicians. Physicians who perform abortions in Alabama now face life imprisonment. This is more prison time than served by individuals convicted of committing rape or incest.
Alabama’s HB 314 is an affront to a woman’s constitutional right for control over her own reproductive health and punishes women for their personal health care choices. Only four of the 35 state Senators voting on HB 314 were women, and two of these women opposed the bill. Furthermore, the Alabama Senate voted down amendments to provide additional pre- or post-natal care or expansion of Medicaid.
In addition, the law has problematic implications in terms of racial disparities. Highly restrictive abortion legislation like this disproportionately impacts low-income, Black and Hispanic women because they often lack the resources to seek an out-of-state abortion.
Alabama’s anti-abortion law is the most punitive of a growing number of similarly draconian laws that have been passed (or introduced) in several states, including Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio, and Georgia. The ulterior motive driving these efforts is to provide a “test case” that will be accepted for consideration by the Supreme Court, in the hopes of overturning Roe v. Wade.
It is now up to the federal courts to affirm that Roe v. Wade is settled law. NASW implores them to overturn this new wave of unacceptable abortion laws.
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.