Alabama Senate votes to ban almost all abortions, sending measure to governor's desk
The Alabama Senate on Tuesday evening passed legislation that bans nearly all abortions in the state, sending the measure to Gov. Kay Ivey's (R) desk to be signed into law.
Ivey has not said whether she will sign the measure, which passed by a 25-6 margin. It would ban abortions in virtually all instances in Alabama, including for victims of rape and incest, and would only permit the procedure if necessary to save a mother’s life.
Anyone performing an abortion could be punished by 10 to 99 years in prison, but no criminal charges would be filed against a person undergoing the procedure.
The legislation was tabled last week when a shouting match erupted on the Senate floor after an exception for cases of rape and incest was removed from the bill.
The bill’s proponents say they hope the legislation, along with abortion restrictions in other states, will set up a Supreme Court battle that will see the overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that was the first to legalize abortion.
State Rep. Terri Collins (R), who sponsored the bill, told The Washington Post she empathized with survivors of rape and incest but that the exceptions were specifically left out so that the law would be strong enough to force a federal court battle.
Sixteen states have passed or are currently considering abortion bans once a fetal heartbeat is detected about six weeks into pregnancy. Four states have approved so-called heartbeat abortion laws.
However, Alabama’s is without a doubt the most restrictive abortion law in the country.
“If I were them, I would be making plans to leave Alabama,” state Sen. Vivian Figures (D) told the Post before the bill was considered. “Who is going to stay in a state like this?”
The pro-abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America swiftly condemned Tuesday’s vote and expressed concern that the current makeup of the Supreme Court put Roe v. Wade at risk after the Senate confirmed President Trump’s two nominees.
“Alabama just passed a law that is a total ban on abortion, criminalizing the act and punishing women and doctors. Anti-choice Republicans no longer even pretend to respect the law or the women that it protects. When this dangerous and demeaning law passed, Republicans stood up and applauded, while women wept,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement.
"When women stood up in record numbers to fight Kavanaugh’s nomination, propelled by his alarming record and Trump’s promise to nominate jurists committed to criminalizing abortion and punishing women, we were told we were ‘hysterical’ because Roe was settled law. Not six months later, we are battling measures where the stated goal is exactly that: outlawing abortion,” she added, referring to the newest Supreme Court justice, Brett Kavanaugh.