‘End the shame’: Abortion bans in U.S. prompt surge in activism, protests

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Alabama lawmakers outlaw abortion
WATCH: Alabama lawmakers outlaw abortion – May 15, 2019

Donations to abortion rights and pro-choice groups have skyrocketed in the wake of the introduction of the most restrictive abortion bill in the U.S. earlier this week.

In Alabama, lawmakers banned abortions at any time — with the only exception being for medical emergencies. Missouri is expected to pass a similar bill Friday.

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READ MORE: Alabama bill banning nearly all abortions signed by governor

At least six other states have introduced legislation that bans abortions after six weeks.

U.S. abortion rights activists have vowed to go to court to block enforcement of the Alabama law, which is scheduled to take effect in six months.

The wave of abortion legislation has led to a renewed energy in activism on the subject.

Protests have seen things like airplanes flying a banner that reads, “Abortion is OK” which was paid for by Georgia organization Amplify.

READ MORE: ‘Heartbeat’ abortion laws could ban most procedures in the U.S. Deep South

“We’re in the fight of our lives for our patients’ lives and we are ready to fight with everything we have,” Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, told the Guardian on Wednesday, when the Alabama bill passed.

Naral Pro-Choice America says support for the group has been growing since U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2016.

“Alabama was a tipping point. The energy we’re seeing now is completely unprecedented in my time as president of Naral and really in my time as an adult,” Ilyse Hogue, president of Naral, said.

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Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison, an Alabama Democrat, said she hopes the measure awakens a “sleeping giant” of women voters in the state.

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Donations pour in

Alabama-based Yellowhammer Fund had only received a third of its fundraising goal of $150,000 before this week.

In the wake of the bill being passed, Amanda Reyes, president of the group had received many donations – some as big as $15,000.

“These are donations for $50, for $5, for $15, for $20,” she told Vice News. “Where is this coming from? Where are people getting all of our stuff? And [I] just looked on social media and saw just this huge outpouring of support.”
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Record donations have also come into Alabama’s Power House group, director Mia Raven told the Daily Beast.

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“This is probably the most we’ve gotten in one day, ever,” Raven said.

“We are going to put all of the money that we raise into funding the practical and abortion-funding support network that exists in the deep South so that our people can get the abortion care they need,” Reyes told Teen Vogue.

Social media campaign #YouKnowMe

Along with donations, a flood of support for women who’ve had abortions has risen on social media.

The hashtag #YouKnowMe first started trending when Busy Phillips pointed out that many people don’t realize they know someone who’s had an abortion.

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“1 in 4 women have had an abortion. Many people think they don’t know someone who has, but #youknowme,” she wrote. “So let’s do this: if you are also the 1 in 4, let’s share it and start to end the shame.”

Since then, celebrities like Jameela Jamil and Ashley Judd have also tweeted the tag, along with scores of less famous women sharing the story of their abortion.

*with files from Reuters and the Associated Press

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