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Alabama Passes Abortion Bill, No Exception For Rape.

The Alabama State Senate on Tuesday passed the most restrictive abortion bill in the United States in the latest attempt by conservatives aimed at getting the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973 that legalized abortion across the country.

House Bill 314, or the "Human Life Protection Act," bans all abortions in Alabama except when "abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk" to the mother. The bill provides no exceptions for rape or incest.

It criminalizes abortion, reclassifying abortion as a Class A felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison for doctors. It does not hold a woman who has had an abortion as criminally liable.

This near-total abortion ban was approved along party lines with 25 Republicans voting for it and 6 Democrats voting against it. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48275795) The bill passed 74-3 earlier this month in Alabama's House of Representatives, also controlled by Republicans.

It will become law after it's signed by Governor Kay Ivey, a Republican. Ivey, however, has refused to publicly comment on the legislation.

The legislation takes effect six months after Ivey signs it.

Abortion rights advocates vowed to challenge the bill in court if Ivey signs the bill into law.

"We will not stand by while politicians endanger the lives of women and doctors for political gain," wrote Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union's Reproductive Freedom Project, in an email to (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/alabama-abortion-law-passed-alabama-passes-near-total-abortion-ban-with-no-exceptions-for-rape-or-incest-2019-05-14/) CBS News . 

"Know this, Governor Ivey: If you sign this dangerous bill into law, we will see you in court."

From the start, Republicans have made no secret of their aim to use this restrictive bill as a lever to force another challenge to Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Terri Collins (R-AL), called the bill a "direct attack" on Roe v. Wade.

She anticipates the bill will be contested by abortion rights advocates like the ACLU and potentially make its way to the Supreme Court.

"The heart of this bill is to confront a decision that was made by the courts in 1973 that said the baby in the womb is not a person," said Collins last week during a debate on the bill at the Alabama House.

"This bill addresses that one issue. Is that baby in the womb a person? I believe our law says it is."

"In a state that has some of the worst health outcomes for women in the nation-such as the highest rate of cervical cancer -- Alabama is putting women's lives at an even greater risk," said Dr. Leana Wen, President of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

"Politicians who say they value life should advocate for policies to solve the public health crises that are killing women, not dismantle what little access to health care Alabamians have left."

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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Geographic Code:1U6AL
Date:May 15, 2019
Words:486
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