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Kimiya Factory was just in college when she helped a desperate friend in need get an abortion.
“Her family would have disowned her and she had a full ride,” Factory tells theGrio. “When she conceived, she did take the measures to be safe and she still got pregnant nonetheless.”
Factory, executive director of social justice non-profit, Black Freedom Factory and creator of #ChangeRapeCulture, remembers her friend as one of many vulnerable young women facing punishment for pregnancy– those who didn’t even have the opportunity to use contraceptives.
“I remember so many college students coming to me with stories of rape, brutal stories of rape and some of them did end up in pregnancies.”
Under a new Texas anti-abortion law, S.B. 8, these women would not be eligible for an abortion after six weeks, the earliest time a heartbeat is detected in a fetus, and long before many women know they are pregnant. The only exemptions are for medical emergencies. Despite the bill being challenged, the Supreme Court rejected a request to stop the near-total abortion ban.
“Senate Bill 8 is a perfect example of rape culture,” Factory tells theGrio. “It’s gatekeeping, the autonomy of our bodies, our minds, and our spirits.“
“When we’re talking about abortions, we’re talking about situations of domestic violence where a child can be brought into a circumstance that they should not have to withstand,” Factory says. “We’re talking about instances of rape and molestation and incest.”
Factory is joining a chorus of pro-choice and health advocates in blasting the bill as an attack on the poorest communities, and communities of color which disproportionately have less access to quality healthcare.
“We’re also talking about health issues. So there’s a plethora of reasons why an abortion is not only health care, but it is necessary,” Factory tells theGrio.
Anti-abortion groups argue the bill is still a win. “Today is a historic and hopeful day,” said Chelsey Youman, of the Human Coalition Action Texas legislative director according to USA Today. “Texas is the first state to successfully protect the most vulnerable among us, preborn children, by outlawing abortion once their heartbeats are detected.”
The Texas bill makes anyone suspected of assisting a pregnant person with getting an abortion after six weeks, eligible to be sued for $10,000. Factory fears that Black doctors and abortion activists could easily become targets, and be dissuaded from helping patients because of the threat of frivolous lawsuits. Abortion patients’ family members can also be sued if they drive their loved ones to the doctor.
“This ten thousand dollar bounty that’s offered for private citizens to sue another person further marginalizes communities of color,” Factory says. “What’s ridiculous about this bill is that people are still going to have abortions regardless of this law.”
Backlash over the bill has been loud, with White House leaders from President Joe Biden to Vice President Kamala Harris weighing in on its constitutionality.
“This decision is not the last word on Roe v. Wade, and we will not stand by and allow our nation to go back to the days of back-alley abortions,” said VP Harris via an official White House statement.
Factory says regardless of the cause of pregnancy, abortion is a legal right that all people are entitled to and don’t need to justify.
“The Black community is capable of the autonomy of our bodies,” says Factory. “Our bodies are not political playgrounds.”
Natasha S. Alford is the VP of Digital Content and Senior Correspondent at theGrio. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @natashasalford.
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