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Alabama bill that effectively bans abortion heads to governor



The Alabama Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that would nearly outlaw all abortions in the state.

The measure, which was passed in the Alabama House of Representatives last month, bans the procedure, even in cases of rape and/or incest, no matter the stage of pregnancy. The only exception is if the mother’s health is at risk.

Additionally, the bill makes performing the procedure a felony. Doctors found guilty could face up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion, and up to 10 years for attempting to perform one, The New York Times reports.

The bill will now head to Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, who has stayed mum about the bill.

“The governor intends to withhold comment until it makes its way to her desk for signature,” deputy press secretary Lori Jhons told the Associated Press in an email ahead of the vote.

Last week, the Alabama Senate erupted over the whether to include an exception for rape and incest, which prompted some division even between Republicans. An amendment adding rape and/or incest as exceptions to the ban was rejected on Tuesday.

If signed, it would be the most strict abortion law in the nation — surpassing Georgia’s recently signed bill that prohibits abortion after six weeks and “holds women criminally responsible,” as INSIDER’s Grace Panetta reported.

Read more: Busy Philipps encourages women to reject Georgia’s abortion ban and reveals her own experience at 15

The bill is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade — the 46-year-old Supreme Court case that protects a woman’s right to choose an abortion — and it was designed with that ruling in mind.

“Why not go all the way?” Eric Johnson, who is the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition founder and president and author of Alabama’s bill, told The Times.

The legality of the bill is likely to be challenged in court, setting up a legal battle over the right to choose. Anti-choice activists are hoping that laws restricting abortion will head to the conservative-leaning US Supreme Court and pose a challenge to Roe.

“For pro-life folks, these are huge victories,” Sue Liebel, the state director for the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion advocacy group, told the Associated Press earlier in May. “And I think they’re indicative of the momentum and excitement and the hope that’s happening with changes in the Supreme Court and having such a pro-life president.”

Last month Ohio passed a bill, banning abortion after a heartbeat is detected — with no exception for rape and/or incest.

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