Alabama Senate Bans Nearly All Abortions, Including Rape Cases

Chris Aluka Berry/Reuters

Alabama’s state Senate passed a bill on Tuesday to outlaw nearly all abortions, creating exceptions only to protect the mother’s health, as part of a multistate effort to have the U.S. Supreme Court reconsider a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion.

The country’s strictest abortion bill was previously approved by the Alabama House of Representatives and will now go to Republican Governor Kay Ivey, who has withheld comment on whether she would sign but is generally a strong opponent of abortion.

The law, which passed 25-6, would take effect six months after being signed by the governor, but is certain to face legal challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups which have vowed to sue.

Legislation to restrict abortion rights has been introduced this year in 16 states, four of whose governors have signed bills banning abortion if an embryonic heartbeat can be detected.

The Alabama bill goes further, banning abortions at any time. Those performing abortions would be committing a felony, punishable by 10 to 99 years in prison, although a woman who receives an abortion would not be held criminally liable.

The Republican-controlled Alabama Senate also defeated a Democratic amendment that would have allowed legal abortions for women and girls impregnated by rape and incest.

Anti-abortion advocates know any laws they pass are certain to be challenged, and courts this year have blocked a restrictive Kentucky law and another in Iowa passed last year.

But supporters of the Alabama ban said the right to life of the unborn child transcends other rights, an idea they would like tested.

Republican Senator Clyde Chambliss, arguing in favor of the Alabama bill, said the whole point was “so that we can go directly to the Supreme Court to challenge Roe versus Wade.”

The high court, now with a majority of conservative justices after Republican President Donald Trump appointed two, could possibly overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision establishing a woman’s right to an abortion.

Just this year, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio have outlawed abortion after a doctor can detect an embryonic heartbeat.

Opponents call the “heartbeat” legislation a virtual ban because embryonic cardiac activity can be detected as early as six weeks, before a woman may be aware she is pregnant.

Democratic state Senator Linda Coleman-Madison called the Republicans hypocritical for advocating small government that ought to stay out of private matters but “now you want in my womb; I want you out.”

All 27 Republican senators are men.

The group Physicians for Reproductive Health said the near total ban on abortions would have a disastrous effect on healthcare.

“Physicians will be unwilling to help patients in need, even when continuing pregnancy is detrimental to a patient’s health, or potentially fatal, out of fear of being scrutinized by the criminal justice system,” Dr. Yashica Robinson, a board member and ob/gyn, said in a statement.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) denounced the ban as unconstitutional.

“This is a transparent effort to drum up political support for anti-abortion candidates in upcoming elections and serves as a direct threat to women’s health, autonomy and pursuit of happiness,” NOW said in a statement.

Actress and activist Alyssa Milano has called for a sex strike under the social media hashtag #SexStrike in response to the campaigns against abortion rights, urging women to refuse sex with men “until we get bodily autonomy back.”

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Clarence Fernandez)

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TOM
Member

The best time to make the decision NOT to have a child is before conception.

Henry Sisson
Member

My niece born in may 1973 was almost an abortion statistic. My sister and I sat in the outside the doctors office in the back seat of the family car while our parents discussed (mother wanted abortion). My sister was balling her eyes out, it was an emotional moment for all of us. My dad finally asked me what I thought should be done. While I was only 16 at the time I had negative views on abortion even then, still do. I replied my sister should make that decision.

Joyce
Member

Although not a constituent, I sent a note to the Governor asking her not to sign this bill. It’s my belief that the consequences of passing it will be worse than having no bill at all.

Mary Ridosh-Spalding
Member

THANK GOODNESS, the LAST thing we want is for Alyssa Milano to procreate!!!

General Confusion
Member

“All 27 Republican senators are men.”

This pretty much explains why electing a diverse set of politicians is critical. Republicans and others who elect mainly older, conservative, “Christian” white men to rule over us are the force behind this. Blame yourselves, no one else.

Conservatives are confused by homogeneity, and remember what can extremes can happen the next time you vote.

Phyllis Softa
Member

Banning SAFE abortion procedures will allow Pro-birthers to sleep at night realizing that they have limited the options to 1. Travel to another state. 2. Go the unsafe route. So what is next? Banning pregnant women from traveling outside Ohio, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, and Georgia?

M
Member

Ignorance continues to rule the south. Make sure the children are born and then forget about their wellbeing. So so sad.

Norman Schain
Member

Using child rape victims as pawns to take Roe v. Wade to the Supreme Court is sick narrow minded thinking. How shameful!!!

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