The Alabama Senate on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill that essentially bans all abortions. The bill has already been approved in the House and is expected to be signed this week by GOP Governor Kay Ivey.
Alabama’s bill is even more restrictive than the ‘heartbeat bill’ signed by Georgia’s governor earlier this month. It includes exemptions only in cases where the mother’s life is threatened (such as ectopic pregnancy) and if “the unborn child has a lethal anomaly.”
After rejecting Democrats’ proposal to include exemptions for rape and incest, the final vote was 25-6. All 27 Republicans in the Alabama Senate are men.
Unless it is defeated in the courts (which is almost certain), Alabama’s new law will go into effect six months after it is signed. Doctors caught performing abortions at any point during a pregnancy will be punished with up to 99 years in prison. The mother would suffer no consequence.
“Even the authors of this bill know that it is blatantly unconstitutional and wouldn’t stand up in court,” said Staci Fox, President of Planned Parenthood Southeast.
The ACLU, which promised to sue Alabama over the bill, tweeted: “PLEASE REMEMBER: This bill will not take effect anytime in the near future, and abortion will remain a safe, legal medical procedure at all clinics in Alabama.”
The Bigger Picture
Alabama’s bill is the latest in a series of anti-abortion laws designed to push the issue to the Supreme Court and ideally overturn Roe v. Wade during the Trump Administration. So far this year, 16 state governments have debated abortion restrictions and four governors have signed heartbeat bills.
In supporting Alabama’s bill, GOP Senator Clyde Chambliss explained: “[The whole point is] so that we can go directly to the Supreme Court to challenge Roe versus Wade.”
Author’s Note: Even from a pro-life point of view, Alabama is taking things a step too far. Those Republican lawmakers must know that Modern America will never overturn Roe v. Wade. Such an attempt will do nothing but make the Republican Party look bad ahead of the 2020 elections.
Editor’s note: I have to admit, that I am not pro-life enough to restrict all abortions the way Alabama is trying to do it.
The heartbeat bills are reasonable, if tight, restrictions on abortion, and I think a correct first step in moving away from the rabid pro-choice direction we have been going. The recently surfacing notion that you can kill a child as it is being born is horrifying to think about.
But Roe v. Wade has been in effect for more than two generations. I believe the radical pro-life stance will a) not work, and b) damage the Republican party for a long time.
If this goes to the Supreme Court, they may be forced to attempt to determine when an unborn child has human rights. This is an impossible task, since we don’t actually understand what “life” is, and the Court will NOT use the religous belief that life begins at conception. We could be forced into an arbitrary measurement, or it could be completely rejected by the court, defaulting to Roe v. Wade criteria. Or the courts could decide that this is a states’ issue and kick it back completely. In any case, this will be ugly, and the chance that pro-life or pro-choice will get a clean victory is negligible.