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Alabama passes bill totally banning abortion


Hal Yeager/Alabama Governor's Office

John Burger - published on 05/15/19 - updated on 05/15/19

Measure is meant to challenge Roe v. Wade.

The State of Alabama has passed a law meant to challenge the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision on abortion.

Alabama’s bill, passed by the state Senate Tuesday, prohibits abortion at any stage of a pregnancy.

Bill sponsor Rep. Terri Collins said she expects Republican Gov. Kay Ivey to sign the ban into law, the Associated Press reported. Ivey has not publicly commented on what she’ll do.

After more than four hours of debate, the Republican-led Senate voted 25-6 to pass HB 314, which would not penalize women who have an abortion but provides a prison sentence of up to 99 years for doctors performing the procedure. The Alabama House passed the bill earlier this month.

The law only allows exceptions “to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother,” for ectopic pregnancy and if the “unborn child has a lethal anomaly,” CNN reported. A Democrat-sponsored amendment to exempt rape and incest victims failed on an 11-21 vote.

American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama Executive Director Randall Marshall said that his organization would join with the national ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Planned Parenthood Southeast to challenge the bill in court within “a few weeks” should it become law.

As President Donald J. Trump has now appointed two pro-life judges to the Supreme Court, many state legislatures have been encouraged to pass more restrictive abortion bans, with the expectation that they will be challenged in court and that some eventually will wind up at the high court.

Democratic state Sen. Vivian Figures argued for an exception for rape clause in the Alabama bill. “You don’t have to raise that child, you don’t have to carry that child, you don’t have to provide for that child, you don’t have to do anything for that child,” she said in a debate with Republican State Sen. Clyde Chambliss, who ushered the bill through the Senate. “But yet you want to make that decision for that woman, that that’s what she has to do.”

Eric Johnston, head of the Alabama Pro-life Coalition and the drafter of the initial legislation, told CNN: “Regardless of how the conception takes place, the product is a child, and so we’re saying that that unborn child is a person entitled to protection of law. So if, be it a rape or inecst conception, then it would be impossible to ask a judge which of these is protected by law and which is not.”

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