Alabama lawmakers have approved a near-total ban on abortion with the passing of the strictest abortion bill in the country on Tuesday, May 14.
Now that the bill has passed through the state's Senate and House of Representatives, it will go to Governor Kay Ivey for her signature. The governor has not spoken up about her decision to sign the bill or not.
Alabama Pushes Anti-Abortion Law Forward
The state's Republican-led Senate voted 25 to six in favor of the legislation, which would make it a felony for doctors to perform an abortion. Under the law, it would be punishable by up to 99 years in prison.
Women would not be held criminally liable for getting an abortion.
However, motions to provide exemptions for rape or incest cases have been rejected by lawmakers. Abortion would only be permitted in cases where the mother's health is in danger or the fetus has a lethal anomaly, according to a CNN report.
Democrat state senator Vivian Davis Figures proposed amendments that would expand Medicaid, force legislators in favor of the bill to pay the state's legal bills, and outlaw vasectomies, but all of these were rejected. She also spoke on behalf of rape victims who would not be able to get an abortion under the pending law.
"You don't have to raise that child, you don't have to carry that child, you don't have to provide for that child, you don't have to do anything for that child," Figures pointed out. "But yet you want to make that decision for that woman, that that's what she has to do."
A Part Of Nationwide Efforts To Challenge 'Roe Vs. Wade'
If Ivey signs the bill, it would take six months until the bill would take effect. However, it is likely to be challenged in court, which would delay it further. In fact, ACLU has spoken out, saying that they will sue to stop such laws that restrict the constitutional right of abortion from taking effect.
Of course, the lawmakers who are pushing for the bill may be banking on the ensuing legal battles. In numerous Rebuplican-led states, legislators are implementing more and more restrictive abortion laws in an effort to get the Supreme Court to reconsider the Roe v. Wade case ruling that allows abortions until the unborn infant is able to survive outside the womb.
"Human life has rights, and when someone takes those rights, that's when we as government have to step in," explained the state senator Clyde Chambliss. "When God creates that life, that miracle of life inside the woman's womb, it's not our place as humans to extinguish that life."
In a statement after the vote, minority leader Bobby Singleton lamented over the decision, saying that it's another decision that kicks women "in the gut." Equating the decision as "rape," Singleton said that the state should be ashamed of itself.
"I would just like to say to all the women of the state of Alabama, I'm sorry," he concluded.