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Alabama’s 85% male legislature passed most extreme abortion ban since Roe v. Wade



Alabama’s overwhelmingly male legislature on Tuesday night passed the nation’s strictest abortion ban.

The abortion bill was passed by 25 white, male, Republican senators.

All six of the votes against the bill came from Democratic senators, including two women — Linda Coleman-Madison of Birmingham and Vivian Figures of Mobile.

Malika Sanders-Fortier of Selma, also a Democrat, abstained. Another Democrat, Priscilla Dunn of Birmingham, has been absent due to illness.

Women in Alabama make up 51% of the population, but comprise only 15% of the state’s legislature.

The southern state’s legislature is 85% male overall, with 22 women out of 140 total seats — four women in the Alabama Senate and 18 in the Alabama House. Alabama has the sixth-lowest percentage of women in a state legislature nationwide. Women make up roughly 29% of all state legislators across the country.

Read more: Alabama Senate passes bill to effectively ban abortion, even in the case of rape or incest. Doctors who perform the procedure could go to jail.

The bill makes it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion in Alabama — punishable by up to 99 years in prison — and bans abortion in cases of rape and incest. The only exception is if the mother’s health is at risk.

Cecile Richards, the former president of Planned Parenthood, in a tweet on Tuesday night described the bill as “the most extreme ban on abortion we’ve seen since Roe v. Wade,” referencing the landmark Supreme Court decision in 1973 that effectively legalized abortion nationwide.

Dr. Leana Wen, the current president of Planned Parenthood, echoed Richards.

“This is the most extreme and dangerous policy since Roe vs. Wade, banning abortion at any point in pregnancy — going so far as to threaten doctors with life-in-prison,” Wen tweeted on Tuesday. “Doctors and public health leaders agree: the cost will be women’s lives.”

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

Other states have also recently passed harsh abortion laws, including Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Ohio, which is seen by reproductive rights advocates as part of a larger effort to overturn Roe v. Wade since President Donald Trump took office and began appointing conservative federal judges across the country— including two to the Supreme Court.

It’s unclear if Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey will sign the abortion bill into law, but if she does, it’s expected to face numerous legal hurdles.

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