Alabama passes law to challenge Roe
by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 5/15/19, 11:01 am
The Alabama legislature passed sweeping protections for the unborn on Tuesday in a bid to bring the question of abortion before the U.S. Supreme Court. The bill, which makes performing an abortion a felony at any stage of pregnancy with almost no exceptions, passed by a wide margin. Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, hasn’t said whether she will sign the bill. The legislation’s sponsor, Rep. Terri Collins, also a Republican, said she expects the governor to sign it, but lawmakers could likely muster enough votes to overcome a veto if she doesn’t.
Under the pending law, an abortion provider would face up to 99 years or life in prison unless the mother’s health was at serious risk. There is no punishment in the measure for women seeking an abortion. Alabama senators blocked an attempt to add exceptions for rape and incest because they might undermine the chances of the law becoming a court challenge to the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which led to the legalization of abortion nationwide. Collins said the law isn’t intended to be a long-term measure and lawmakers could add other exceptions later.
“It’s to address the issue that Roe. v. Wade was decided on. Is that baby in the womb a person?” she said. Roe v. Wade granted women the right to an abortion until the point in pregnancy when the baby could survive outside the womb.
If the governor signs the bill into law, it would take effect in six months. Randall Marshall, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, said the organization is already drafting a lawsuit against it.
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