The “yes” vote on Alabama’s near-total abortion ban Tuesday night was comprised exclusively of male legislators, but it was more than enough to pass the controversial legislation that would criminalize abortion in the state.
Currently, a record amount of women are seeking the White House in 2020 and Tuesday’s vote ignited their pro-choice stance on what some are calling a “war on women.”
“This ban is dangerous and exceptionally cruel—and the bill’s authors want to use it to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted. “I’ve lived in that America and let me tell you: We are not going back—not now, not ever.”
This ban is dangerous and exceptionally cruel—and the bill’s authors want to use it to overturn Roe v. Wade. I've lived in that America and let me tell you: We are not going back—not now, not ever. We will fight this. And we will win. https://t.co/WNlr7Ys73q
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) May 15, 2019
Warren described the pre-Roe v. Wade America in a speech on the Senate floor last year, detailing the dangers of back-alley abortions.
“When I was a girl growing up in Oklahoma, women got abortions. Make no mistake — abortions were illegal back then, but women got them,” she said.
“Desperate women turned to back-alley butchers and even tried the procedure on their own, using coat hangers or drinking turpentine. Some were lucky, but others weren’t. Some women bled to death. Some died of infections. Some were poisoned. They all when through hell.”
Watch the video below:
The bill she was fighting at the time was a ban on abortion past 20 weeks. Alabama’s legislation takes an abortion ban further than any other state.
The law would make it illegal for anyone to perform abortions in the state at any stage in the pregnancy and with zero exceptions for women and girls who are victims of rape and incest. The only time an abortion would be allowed is if the woman’s life was in serious danger.
Under the new bill, the women who receive abortions wouldn’t be punished but doctors or anyone who performs an abortion would be penalized and could serve up to 99 years in prison.
The Alabama Senate is comprised of 31 men and three women. All three women are Democrats and voted against the bill. In total, 25 Republican male state senators voted in favor of the ban.
For 2020 hopeful Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), the ban was an assault on half the country’s population.
“This is a war on women,” she wrote on Twitter, “and it is time to fight like hell.”
Alabama just passed a near-total ban on abortion.
No exceptions for rape or incest.
Doctors could face 99 years in prison for providing abortions.
This is a war on women, and it is time to fight like hell. https://t.co/lhwlbyeQsl
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) May 15, 2019
Tuesday night’s vote was the last hope for the few Democratic state legislatures to try to change the minds of their colleagues. Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is expected to sign the bill into law.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who’s seeking the White House in 2020, called the passing of the bill “outrageous.”
Outrageous news coming out of Alabama. This law would effectively ban abortions in the state and criminalize doctors for doing their jobs – providing health care to women. https://t.co/90utkxn7J2
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) May 15, 2019
2020 hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) went as far as to question the legality of the legislation. “This is wrong,” she tweeted. “This is unconstitutional.”
This bill in Alabama is effectively a ban on abortion. This is wrong. This is unconstitutional. https://t.co/dsRWqAY4PW
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— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) May 15, 2019
But for Alabama Republicans, questioning the constitutionality of the bill is exactly the point. Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth freely admitted last week the purpose of the extreme bill is to get it before the now conservative-friendly Supreme Court.
“Now that President Donald Trump has supercharged the effort to remake the federal court system by appointing conservative jurists who will strictly interpret the Constitution, I feel confident that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn Roe and finally correct its 46-year-old mistake,” he said in a statement.