Alabama Senate Approves Restrictive Abortion Ban

The Alabama state senate approved a bill Tuesday night that criminalizes abortion in nearly all cases.

The bill now heads for Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey's desk, who has not yet indicated whether she will sign it. If she does, it would become the most restrictive abortion law in the country.

If the bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Terri Collins becomes law, performing abortion a felony in the state of Alabama would be punishable by life or 10 to 99 years in prison. Attempting to perform an abortion would also be a felony, punishable by one to 10 years in prison.

The only exceptions included if the life of the woman was threatened, if the woman had a mental illness that could result in "her death or the death of her unborn child;" or if the pregnancy would result in a stillbirth or the baby's death after birth. The bill does not allow exceptions for cases of sexual assault or incest. Democrats in the state senate introduce an amendment Tuesday night to exempt victims of rape and incest, but it was voted down, 11-21.

The Alabama House approved a version of the bill last week that included an exception for the mother's health, passing 74-3.

Eric Johnston of the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition drafted the law in an explicit challenge to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down state bans on abortion in the first trimester.

Abortion rights groups across the United States were outraged by the passing of the bill, calling it an attack on a woman's right to access health care.

"The ACLU of Alabama, along with the National ACLU and Planned Parenthood, will file a lawsuit to stop this unconstitutional ban and protect every woman’s right to make her own choice about her healthcare, her body, and her future," the ACLU of Alabama wrote in a statement. "This bill will not take effect anytime in the near future, and abortion will remain a safe, legal medical procedure at all clinics in Alabama.”

Mississippi, Kentucky and Ohio have recently passed "Heartbeat abortion" bans, which ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Several other states, including Missouri, South Carolina, Florida, Texas, Louisiana and West Virginia are all considering similar laws.

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