This week, the Alabama state house passed the most restrictive anti-abortion bill in the nation that bans abortion, even in cases of rape and/or incest, unless the woman’s life is in danger, and makes performing an abortion a felony. Doctors that do perform abortions can be sentenced to up to 99 years in prison. It is expected that this bill will pass the state senate as well.
In a 72-28 vote, the state house voted to outlaw abortion in all cases except when the woman’s life was in danger. The bill also criminalizes abortion; doctors who perform abortion face jail time and doctors who attempt to perform an abortion face up to ten years in prison. This is the most restrictive legislation passed in the nation and violates Roe v. Wade. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur), said that the bill was created to be “a vehicle to revisit the constitutionally flawed Roe v. Wade decision.”
Representative Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) argued that “we have so many problems that exist in the state of Alabama, from only 32% of the children in Alabama have access to pre-K [to being] one of the few states that did not expand access to healthcare. And we spend our time dealing with legislation that we know is going to be unconstitutional? We wasted about $1.7 million before on similar pieces of legislation. You would think that we would learn from our mistakes, but we’ve chosen to go down the same road again.”
Amanda Reyes, the president of the Yellowhammer Fund, a group that raises funds to help women afford abortion care, said that “if you make abortion illegal somewhere that doesn’t mean that abortion goes away. It just becomes more difficult and more dangerous to access. This bill is an awful piece of grandstanding.”
This bill is part of a larger nationwide strategy to pass anti-abortion legislation in an attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade. Elizabeth Nash, senior states issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, said that “because of the shift in the balance of power at the U.S. Supreme Court, conservative politicians from across the country are looking to send the Court multiple opportunities to undermine or overturn abortion rights.” Other states such as Georgia, Mississippi, Iowa, Ohio, and Kentucky have sought to ban abortions and decrease abortion access as well.
Media Resources: Refinery 29 5/2/19; NPR 5/1/19