The Alabama Senate approved a bill for abortion bans in the state yesterday. The newest bill confronts to Roe v. Wade decision, which was the first historical decision by the Supreme Court that recognized women’s access to safe and legal abortion as their constitutional right.
Alabama’s legislation includes all kinds of abortion bans in the state, passing the bill to Governor Kay Ellen Ivey for signing it to become a law. At any stage of pregnancy, the bill reviewed performing of abortions as a crime, becoming the strictest-law in the nation.
The doctors performing abortions could face up to 99 years in prison. However, the person undergoing the procedure would face no criminal charges. Victims of rape and incest would also abide by the bill for abortion ban, making them liable to give birth. Although, there would be an exception for cases in which the mother’s life is threatened.
The legislation’s abortion ban drew wide criticism from the people, making it a subject of fierce debate in the states. While opposing the abortion bans from the very beginning, Vivian Davis Figures, Democratic member of the Alabama Senate said, “If I were them, I would be making plans to leave Alabama…Who is going to stay in a state like this?”
Opposing the restrictions, NARAL Pro-Choice group that aims to expand access to abortions in the country, criticized the abortion ban law and expressed concerns for the women in the country.
They claimed that the bill intended to punish women, restricting control over their own lives, bodies, and futures. Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL Pro-Choice group, condemned the abortion ban bill in reference to the newest Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“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,” Hogue said.
The bill’s supporters said that the legislation along with other state’s abortion ban would eventually nullify Roe v. Wade’s criterion of legalizing abortion.
State Representative, Terri Collins, while sponsoring the bill, sympathized with the rape survivors and incest but later argued that the exceptions were already left out and this would allow the law to become strong enough to force a federal court battle.
Almost 16 states in the country have been considering the abortion ban with the detection of a fetal heartbeat in six–week pregnant women. Four states have already approved the heartbeat abortion law. However, Alabama has become the only state with the most restrictive and absolute abortion laws in the country.
Although, the Alabama’s Senate has largely supported the bill, it is yet to be signed by the Governor. With the current scenario, it appears that the abortion ban bill would face extreme challenges throughout the country, if it becomes a law.