Alabama governor signs America's most restrictive abortion bill, passed by 25 male senators
On Wednesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) signed the most restrictive abortion bill in the United States since 1973.
House Bill 314, the 'Human Life Protection Act,' makes it a class A felony for a doctor to perform an abortion in Alabama, punishable by 10 to 99 years in prison. The law allows pregnancies to be terminated when the mother's health is at serious risk, but provides no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
"To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God," Ivey said in a statement.
Alabama isn't the only American state restricting abortion. Watch actress Busy Philipps speak out against Georgia's six-week abortion ban here:
Alabama’s Republican-controlled, largely male, state senate passed the bill yesterday. Specifically, 25 white men, all Republicans voted for the strictest abortion law in US history. There are currently 27 Republicans in the 35-seat Alabama senate, but two did not vote.
The six-out-of-eight Democrat representatives who voted were strongly against the bill, with minority leader, Bobby Singleton stating: "You’ve got 27 men over on the other side ready to tell women what they can do with their bodies."
There are only four women in the Alabama senate, all Democrats, and the state's legislature is 15.7 per cent female overall, the sixth lowest state in the country, compared to 28.7 per cent of state legislators nationally.
This is what the Republican leadership group in the senate looks like, as presented on their caucus’ website:
These are the remaining 20 members of the Republican caucus who all voted to ban abortion:
"It's a sad day in Alabama," added Singleton in the debate leading up to the vote. "You just said to my daughter, 'you don't matter, you don't matter in the state of Alabama'."
After the bill was passed, Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth made his support for the decision clear, referring back to the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade, in which the US Supreme court established a woman's legal right to an abortion.
"With liberal states approving radical late-term and post-birth abortions, Roe must be challenged, and I am proud that Alabama is leading the way," Ainsworth tweeted on Tuesday night.
The new law is set to take effect in six months, but is expected face several legal challenges from her abortion rights supporters. In her statement, Ivey acknowledged the bill may be "unenforceable" for the foreseeable future. However, by signing he bill, she hopes that ensuing court battles will prompt the right-leaning Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, which has been settled law for 46 years.
In the landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution provides a fundamental "right to privacy" that protects a pregnant woman's liberty to choose whether or not to have an abortion. As a result, states may not place an "undue burden" on women seeking an abortion. They also rejected the argument that a fetus is a person.
"Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973," Ivey said. "The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur."