Alabama Votes for Total Abortion Ban: No Exceptions For Rape or Incest, Docs Face 99 Years in Prison

Alabama Votes for Total Abortion Ban: No Exceptions For Rape or Incest, Docs Face 99 Years in Prison

The Alabama Senate approved a bill that would effectively outlaw abortion in the state. If signed by the governor, the law would set up a direct challenge to the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which recognized abortion as a constitutional right.

The Alabama bill would ban abortion at every stage of pregnancy. Doctors would be charged with a felony that carries up to 99 years in prison if they perform the procedure, The New York Times reports.

In a last-minute move, the Senate voted down an amendment that would have created an exception for victims of rape and incest.

The bill only includes an exception for cases where the mother’s life is in danger.

The bill was already approved by the House last month and will now head to Gov. Kay Ivey, who Republicans expect to sign the bill according to The Times. She has not publicly said she would sign the bill.

Alabama bill sets up Roe v. Wade challenge:

The bill, if signed, is clearly unconstitutional because the Supreme Court ruled that states cannot infringe on a woman’s right to get an abortion. This is a feature, not a bug. Republicans are hoping that the law is challenged in the Supreme Court and the new court, with Trump appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, will vote to overturn the court’s precedent. Kavanaugh’s predecessor, Anthony Kennedy, was credited with saving Roe while serving as a conservative-leaning swing vote.

“Until now, there was no prospect of reversing Roe,” Alabama Pro-Life Coalition founder Eric Johnston bragged to the Times.

“Mr. Johnston, who drafted the Alabama bill and sees himself as a purist on the abortion issue, said he did not support the spate of restrictive legislation that other states have enacted in recent months, including so-called fetal heartbeat bills. These bills essentially ban abortions starting at six weeks after conception, a time when many women do not yet know they are pregnant,” The Times reported. “Given the current leanings of the Supreme Court, Mr. Johnston said, making such a measure, which does not directly challenge Roe, the subject of the court’s next major abortion case would be a wasted opportunity.”

“Why not go all the way?” Johnston asked.

Pro-choice advocates slam forced birth bill:

“Today is a dark day for women in Alabama and across this country,” said Staci Fox, the president of Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates. “Banning abortion is bad enough. Imprisoning doctors for providing care goes beyond the brink. Alabama politicians will forever live in infamy for this vote and we will make sure that every woman knows who to hold accountable.”

California Sen. Kamala Harris, a 2020 Democratic presidential contender, accused Alabama lawmakers of “hypocrisy.”

"I will also say that on this day where we saw what happened in Alabama, let us all agree, that women’s health care is under attack, and we will not stand for it. We will not stand for it," she said Wednesday, according to CNN. "The idea that supposed leaders have passed a law that would criminalize a physician for assisting a woman on something that she, in consult with her physician, with her God, with her faith leader, has made a decision to do, that it’s her body that you would criminalize -- and say for up to 99 years, which is a life sentence -- and this is the same state, and the same kind of people, who also stand in the way of what women need in terms of a ban on existing conditions, to have access to issues like prenatal care -- like, they need to check their hypocrisy."

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