Alabama Senate has passed a controversial bill that makes procuring an abortion a felony offense. This bill is a breathe away from totally banning abortion in this state. The Senate, a combination of thirty-one men and three women approved the law by twenty-five votes to six, rejecting exemptions for cases of rape or incest.
Women only make up just about 15 percent of Alabama’s legislature, with 11 percent of the state Senate, leaving issues that primarily affect women up to the men.
Under the Human Life Protection Act, doctors who perform an abortion at any stage of pregnancy could face a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. The only exception in the legislation is in cases where the life of the pregnant woman is at risk with activists crossing their fingers that this will challenge the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in the US.
“This bill is very simple. It’s not about birth control or the morning after the pill. It’s about not allowing abortion once the woman is pregnant. The entire bill was designed to overturn [Roe v. Wade] and allow states to decide what is best for them,” said the State Rep. Terri Collins (R), who sponsored the new legislation.
Applauding the legislation for not adding anything to the bill, Eric Johnston, who drafted the legislation as president of the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition, said he was confident the governor would sign the bill. And that it is his hope that the law will be challenged, he said, and will eventually be reviewed by the Supreme Court.
The National Organization for Women called the ban “unconstitutional” and said it was a transparent effort to drum up political support for anti-abortion candidates in upcoming elections with Parenthood Advocates terming the decision a dark day for women in Alabama and across this country.
“In passing this atrocious bill, Alabama’s state legislators have shown their complete disregard for the U.S. Constitution and the needs of their constituents. Anti-choice politicians have once again demonstrated that they would rather advance their extreme personal agenda than ensure the safety and well-being of their constituents,” said Katherine Ragsdale, CEO of the National Abortion Federation, in a statement.