The Alabama State Senate has approved a bill that effectively outlaws abortion. The bill, which passed the Senate on a 25-6 vote, makes it a felony for a doctor to perform or attempt an abortion during any stage of pregnancy. There are some exceptions, however. As a House Bill, an exception was added in relation to the mother’s health, then in the Senate, another provision was added for cases of rape and incest. However, Republicans took rape and incest off the bill shortly before the vote, causing outrage from the Democrats. A motion to re-introduce these exceptions died in the Senate, making it now one of the strictest abortion laws America has ever seen.
Sen. Bernie Sanders called the new law “blatantly unconstitutional” while Sen. Kamala Harris called the new wave of pro-life legislation a “direct effort to criminalize women for their health care decisions.” Staci Fox of abortion business Planned Parenthood’s Southeast Advocates called the decision “a dark day for women in Alabama and across this country.” Republicans, however, believe that the law must be strict enough to challenge the precedent set by Roe v. Wade. They know that the bill is likely to be disapproved of in lower courts and hope that this will cause it to be elevated up to the Supreme Court.
“This bill’s purpose is to hopefully get to the Supreme Court and have them revisit the earlier decision.” said Republican sponsor, Terri Collins. Alabama’s Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth that “Roe must be challenged,” and said he was “proud that Alabama is leading the way.” Eric Johnson of the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition, who assisted in drafting the bill said “The Supreme Court judges have changed, and so I think we’re at the point where we need to take a bigger and a bolder step.” Doctors who terminate a pregnancy will now face up to 99 years in jail. The woman will not be held criminally responsible.
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