Alabama State Senate Passes Bill That Effectively Bans Abortion
After a 25-to-6 Tuesday night vote, the Alabama Senate passed legislation that effectively bans women from having abortions in the state. Exceptions do not include rape or incest, helping make this the strongest anti-abortion bill passed since Roe v. Wade‘s 1973 ruling.
It is currently up to Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, to sign the bill. If she does sign it, it will take effect exactly six months after she approves it.
The legislation is officially known as House Bill 314, the “Human Life Protection Act.” The only abortions it allows within Alabamian borders are those deemed “necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk” to a woman. Moreover, it reclassifies abortion as a Class A felony, and doctors can be punished with up to 99 years in prison should they comply with one. Attempted abortions are likewise now classified as Class C felonies.
Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton spoke out against the bill prior to its passing. “It’s a sad day in Alabama,” he said. :You just said to my daughter, ‘You don’t matter, you don’t matter in the state of Alabama.'”
Notably, Alabamian Republicans have likened abortions to the lives lost in the Holocaust, something both Jewish and abortion activist groups have derided. Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth, a Republican, praised the bill on Twitter after the vote:
Alabama’s state motto is “We Dare Defend Our Rights,” and today we have taken a strong step toward defending the rights of the unborn. With liberal states approving radical late-term and post-birth abortions, Roe must be challenged, and I am proud that Alabama is leading the way. pic.twitter.com/9femod4YTG
— Will Ainsworth (@willainsworthAL) May 15, 2019
Alabama’s abortion ban is the latest in a long line of state-level legislation designed to challenge abortion rights. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed another anti-abortion bill last week, which prevents women from having an abortion once a heartbeat can be detected in an embryo. Notably, heartbeats are typically detectable in embryos five to six weeks into a woman’s pregnancy, long before most women realize they’re pregnant. Conservative activists are hoping these measures will be taken up to the Supreme Court, which currently has five conservative judges.
However, advocates in favor of abortion rights are prepared to fight Ivey should she pass the bill. Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project, is prepared to challenge Ivey. “We will not stand by while politicians endanger the lives of women and doctors for political gain,” Kolbi-Molinas told CBS News. “Know this, Governor Ivey: If you sign this dangerous bill into law, we will see you in Court.”
Rep. Terri Collins, who sponsored the “Human Life Protection Act,” insists that’s intended on their part. According to Collins, the bill is a “direct attack” against Roe v. Wade and believes it could potentially find its way before the country’s highest court.
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