Kids' Brand Takes Aim at the Abortion Ban & the Bold Shirt Has People Divided

A gray t-shirt for kids reads:
Free to Be Kids/Instagram

The debate over reproductive rights has been reignited with a fierce intensity, following the near-total abortion bans sweeping Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio. Although anti-abortion advocates are proudly hailing the new legislation as hard-won protections for the unborn, pro-choice supporters argue that the bans are unconstitutional and violate a woman's right to govern her own health and body. 

In case you've been living under a rock (or for some reason have lost all Internet connection this week), you've likely seen countless memes, Facebook posts, tweets, and more being fired off from both sides of the aisle. But what you may have missed in between all that noise was a recent post from the brand Free to Be Kids, which shared a new graphic tee from its sister site that highlights an aspect of the ban opponents find the most troubling.

  • To back up things for a second, Free to Be Kids is a kids' brand that sells children's graphic tees with positive messages.

    Often, the shirts say some pretty empowering and progressive things, with messages that aim to shatter gender stereotypes. Like this one, which reads "Tough Like Mommy."

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  • Or this one, which celebrates the fact that girls are just as smart as boys.

    (Not to mention, every bit as cool.)

    Others feature quotes from noteworthy feminists and celebs, such as one tee that proudly declares "When they go low, we go high," (aka one of Michelle Obama's most popular lines).

    Or they feature simple yet motivational phrases such as "Live your best life" and "I love my thighs" (which just so happens to be featured on an adorable baby onesie).

  • But from time to time, the brand has been known to dip its toes into more controversial waters.

    "Think vaccines are a Big Pharma conspiracy?" reads the caption of one recent post. "Oh, guess what? Science doesn't care what you think."

    Yep -- they totally went there.
  • And recently, after hearing the news Alabama had signed a near-total abortion ban into law, the company decided to speak up.

    "My body is not your incubator," reads the simple gray T-shirt, which is available for purchase on Free to Be Kids' sister site, HelloResistance.com. And it drives home one of the main issues pro-choice advocates are trying to shout from the rooftops when it comes to reproductive rights. 

    Under the Alabama law (which even some anti-abortion conservatives say goes too far), abortions would only be legal in extreme medical circumstances. That means that cases of rape or incest would not be considered a valid reason to seek one. Neither would the victim's age -- which would mean that even a child could be forced to give birth to her rapist's baby.

  • "Normally we'd find this a bit too edgy and mature to share on Free To Be Kids," the caption on Free to Be Kids' Instagram post reads.

    "But given some states think 11-year-olds should be forced to bear the children of rapists, well ... We're going there," it continues.

    They certainly are. And according to many on social media, they have good reason to.

    "100% yes," wrote one Instagram user. "Too important not to talk about. Thanks for raising awareness and funds."

    "This shouldn't be seen as edgy," wrote another user on Facebook. "It should be seen as edgy, controversial, and downright offensive that so far six states have decided women have fewer rights to bodily autonomy than a corpse. That is what should offend."

  • However, others felt the topic had no place being on a kids' clothing brand page.

    "I think that whatever opinions you have is ok, but it’s not ok to force kids to wear strong political opinions they don’t understand," wrote one woman.

    Still, most comments across social media raised a virtual fist in support of the shirt, for saying something that needs to be said.

    "From the state of Alabama ... shout this from the roof tops!" wrote one woman on Facebook. "65 years old and I never dreamed we would face this issue once again!"

  • Although Alabama's abortion law appears to be the most restrictive, legislation from other states isn't so far behind.  

    Georgia, Ohio, and several other states have passed what is known as a “heartbeat bill," which bans abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected. (In other words, as early as six weeks into a woman's pregnancy.) And on Friday, Missouri became the latest state to join the ranks by banning abortions after eight weeks into pregnancy.

    Considering that most women aren't even aware that they're pregnant during those first weeks after conception, pro-choice advocates have found the laws particularly problematic. But the lack of consideration for both age and consent is perhaps the most alarming point of all.

    Even though the laws have yet to go into affect and there is a chance they could be blocked by the US Supreme Court, many pro-choice supporters worry this could be the beginning of the end for Roe v. Wade, which would have a myriad of socioeconomic effects -- to say nothing of the personal impact it will have on the women affected in years to come.