SEVERE WX : Air Stagnation Advisory - Wind Advisory View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Alabama abortion ban bill igniting legal, political battles

Alabama lawmakers' vote to outlaw almost all abortions in the state is igniting a legal and political battle over what would be the most restrictive law in the country as conservatives aim to challenge the Supreme Court's 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

Posted: May 15, 2019 10:36 AM
Updated: May 15, 2019 11:03 AM

By KIM CHANDLER Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers' vote to outlaw almost all abortions in the state is igniting a legal and political battle over what would be the most restrictive law in the country as conservatives aim to challenge the Supreme Court's 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

The legislation that would make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy, with almost no exceptions, a felony is now in the hands of the governor, who will decide whether to sign it into law. Even supporters anticipate that, if enacted, courts would block the legislation from taking effect as abortion opponents play a long-game legal strategy to try to give states control over abortion access.

On Wednesday morning, abortion rights advocates urged Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to reject the bill and vowed swift legal action if it is enacted.

"We are laser-focused on urging Gov. Kay Ivey to veto this dangerous bill. If she chooses not to, then we will take this to court and ensure that abortion remains safe and legal and accessible in the state of Alabama," said Staci Fox, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast.

In Alabama and other conservative states, anti-abortion politicians and activists emboldened by the addition of conservative justices to the U.S. Supreme Court hope to ignite legal fights and eventually overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, putting an end to the constitutional right to abortion.

Ivey has not commented on the bill passed Tuesday night, but the Republican fixture in Alabama has long identified as anti-abortion and the bill's sponsor, Rep. Terri Collins, said she expects her to sign the legislation.

"Roe v. Wade has ended the lives of millions of children," Republican Sen. Clyde Chambliss, who shepherded the bill in the Alabama Senate, said in a statement. "While we cannot undo the damage that decades of legal precedence under Roe have caused, this bill has the opportunity to save the lives of millions of unborn children."

Democrats criticized the bill as a mixture of political grandstanding and a waste of taxpayer dollars. Although the bill's sponsor is a woman, they noted that the Senate Republican majority that approved the bill consists entirely of men.

"The state of Alabama ought to be ashamed of herself. You ought to be ashamed. Go look in the mirror," Sen. Bobby Singleton said. "Women in this state didn't deserve this. This is all about political grandstanding."

Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia recently have approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy. The Alabama bill goes further by seeking to ban abortion outright.

The bill would make performing an abortion a felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison for the abortion provider. The only exception would be when the woman's health is at serious risk. Under the bill, women seeking or undergoing abortions wouldn't be punished.

Alabama senators rejected an attempt to add an exception for rape and incest. The amendment was voted down 21-11, with four Republicans joining Democrats in seeking the amendment.

Supporters had argued that exceptions would weaken their hope of creating a vehicle to challenge Roe v. Wade. Bill sponsor Collins said the legislation isn't meant to be a long-term measure— just a means to challenge Roe — and lawmakers could add a rape exception if states regain control of abortion access.

"It's to address the issue that Roe. v. Wade was decided on: Is that baby in the womb a person?" Collins said.

Democrats opposed to the bill said the measure is too extreme even in a conservative-leaning state like Alabama and said they hope their GOP counterparts feel the "wrath" of women at the ballot box.

During debate, Singleton pointed out and named rape victims watching from the Senate viewing gallery. He said that under the ban, doctors who perform abortions could serve more prison time than the women's rapists.

About 50 people rallied outside the Statehouse during the debate and chanted, "Whose choice? Our choice." Several women dressed as characters from the "The Handmaid's Tale," which depicts a dystopian future where fertile women are forced to breed.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 72506

Reported Deaths: 896
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah16587234
Washington1013599
Marion9082139
Clackamas602377
Umatilla432549
Lane425042
Jackson376830
Malheur238742
Deschutes229115
Yamhill169616
Linn139222
Polk121416
Douglas92118
Klamath8444
Jefferson81411
Benton7847
Union7796
Morrow6547
Lincoln61615
Wasco52419
Josephine5234
Columbia4883
Coos4213
Hood River3961
Clatsop3590
Baker2783
Crook2196
Grant1341
Curry1332
Tillamook1260
Lake1241
Harney991
Wallowa713
Gilliam230
Sherman230
Wheeler30
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1200624

Reported Deaths: 19116
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3908917623
San Bernardino921641129
Riverside857691437
San Diego80018997
Orange767611577
Kern40632448
Fresno37994481
Sacramento36579566
Santa Clara33732476
Alameda29116511
San Joaquin25741502
Contra Costa23571261
Stanislaus21585424
Tulare20634308
Ventura19379175
Imperial15960356
San Francisco15377160
Monterey14753116
San Mateo14148170
Sonoma12049157
Merced11550179
Santa Barbara11340135
Kings1068787
Solano1004481
Marin7704129
Placer635468
San Luis Obispo612936
Madera605085
Yolo473775
Shasta471847
Santa Cruz435828
Butte389459
Sutter314415
Napa298817
El Dorado23154
Yuba198110
San Benito186516
Lassen17733
Tehama164925
Mendocino148522
Nevada11849
Tuolumne9818
Lake90919
Glenn8918
Humboldt8509
Colusa6946
Siskiyou6242
Amador55416
Mono5453
Calaveras47822
Del Norte3131
Inyo29016
Plumas2050
Trinity1580
Modoc1310
Mariposa1302
Alpine500
Sierra190
Unassigned00
Medford
Overcast
35° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 35°
Brookings
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 43°
Crater Lake
Clear
33° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 29°
Grants Pass
Overcast
36° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 36°
Klamath Falls
Clear
33° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 29°
Few showers on Monday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events