Alabama Passes A Strict Abortion Bill, Near-Total Ban Makes No Exception For Rape

Alabama Passes A Strict Abortion Bill, Near-Total Ban Makes No Exception For Rape

In what is being called the most restrictive bill on abortion in the United States, doctors could be punished up to 99 years in prison.

In a 25 to 6 vote, the Alabama State Senate just passed a near-total ban on abortion. The bill - which provides no exceptions for rape or incest - is headed to Governor Kay Ivey's desk. If she signs it, the bill will become law. 


According to The Chicago Tribune, The legislation -- House Bill 314, "Human Life Protection Act" -- bans all abortions in the state except when "abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk" to the woman, according to the bill's text. It criminalizes the procedure, reclassifying abortion as a Class A felony, punishable by up to 99 years in prison for doctors.


"It's a sad day in Alabama," said Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton in the debate leading up to the vote. "You just said to my daughter, you don't matter, you don't matter in the state of Alabama." 


The law only allows exceptions "to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child's mother," for ectopic pregnancy and if the "unborn child has a lethal anomaly." Democrats re-introduced an amendment to exempt rape and incest victims, but the motion failed on an 11-21 vote.


Republican Gov. Kay Ivey will have six days to sign the legislation, though the bill would not take effect until six months after becoming law. Ivey has not publicly taken a stance on the bill but has previously aligned herself as anti-abortion, lamenting the courts striking down another Alabama abortion law last year. 


American Civil Rights Union of Alabama Executive Director Randall Marshall said that his organization would join with the national ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Planned Parenthood of Southeast to challenge the bill in court within "a few weeks" should it become law. 


Republican State Sen. Clyde Chambliss, who ushered the bill through the chamber, emphasized in his introduction that the bill impacts women who are "known to be pregnant" and would provide "every female that's pregnant or thinks they're pregnant, and the male who was involved, it gives them that window of time -- this bill does not change that window of time." 


In a news release, Chambliss touted that his bill outlaws surgical abortions as soon as a pregnancy can be medically determined.  

Many women don't yet know for certain that they're pregnant even at six weeks into a pregnancy -- the earliest a fetal heartbeat can be detected. 

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