Following Abortion Ban, Alabama Students Planning Lives Elsewhere After Graduation

Julie BennettGetty Images

In the face of Alabama passing the most restrictive abortion law since Roe v. Wade was established as the law of the land across the country, many of the state’s student residents have started to indicate that as a result, they won’t be sticking around after graduation, Yahoo News reports. Yahoo News’ Kayla Jardine spoke to a number of students at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in a non-scientific survey of opinions on the anti-abortion law.

According to the impromptu sampling of students, all questioned had heard about the ban and most expressed worry about it. Respondents cited concerns about the law’s effects on classmates, women across the state, and the school itself.

“Even though we knew that this was coming, it’s shocking to me just how restrictive and inhumane it is,” replied Abba Mellon, the student president of Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity at the school when asked for her perspective.

“This bill is very extreme, and it…affects my viewpoint of living in the state itself,” said Melanie Parker, who is a senior at the university. She added that she is not planning on living in Alabama after graduation.

An amendment to the bill which would have created exceptions to the ban for cases involving rape and incest was voted down.

Even the pro-life students questioned were quick to say that this particular law goes too far. Ashlynne Rivers, a senior, said that while she wouldn’t have an abortion personally, she did support the rights of others to make the decision for themselves.

“I am not here to judge other people,” she said.

Rivers also pointed out that the 25 lawmakers voting in favor of the bill were entirely white, male and Republican, questioning whether they were in a position to understand a women’s perspective on the issue and vote appropriately.

Another sentiment expressed by students responding to the informal survey was the concern that Alabama’s reputation after passing such a historically restrictive ban on women’s reproductive rights, prospective students may not want to consider the state for college.

Mellon pointed out that for many, Alabama has not had a good track record recently on political issues. As examples, she cited not only the new abortion ban, but also prominent figures from the state including former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Roy Moore, the judge and controversial Senate candidate who lost to Doug Jones in a special election shortly after President Donald Trump took office.

“It’s really frustrating for me because there’s so much good stuff that’s happening in Alabama,” Mellon added.