The Alabama Senate voted 25-6 Tuesday that would make the state one of the most pro-life in the country.
The bill would save babies at any stage of pregnancy. It includes a clause making the performance of an abortion, outside of those permitted, a felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison. The bill’s only exception would be when the woman’s health is at serious risk.
There is no punishment for the woman receiving the abortion, only for abortionists.
The measure is headed to the desk of Republican Gov. Kay Ivey.
Supporters of the bill said it was designed to challenge the Supreme Court’s ruling of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in America.
“Human life has rights, and when someone takes those rights, that’s when we as government have to step in,” said Republican Clyde Chambliss, the Senate sponsor of the abortion ban.
“The question for me – for us – is: When is a person a person?” Chambliss added.
Senators voted down an attempt to add an amendment that gave exceptions for rape and incest.
Supporters had argued exemptions would weaken their hope of challenging Roe.
Rep. Terri Collins said, “We were trying to keep it just as it was to address the issue of Roe vs Wade was decided on, which is that the baby in the womb is a person.”
Staci Fox, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood Southeast, voiced outrage over the bill.
“This is nothing but a political game and women are the pawns,” she said. “Let’s be honest, banning abortion does not stop abortion. It stops safe and legal abortion.”
The measure compared abortion to some of the greatest human tragedies, including the Holocaust.
The bill will take effect in six months if it is signed into law.
Alabama follows a handful of states that have recently enacted laws banning abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually as early as six weeks.
Tom McCluskey of March for Life Action said, “There’s an optimism in the pro-life movement and a pessimism in the abortion movement. They’re seeing the changes at the federal level, especially at the Supreme Court. They’re seeing the actions that President Trump is doing and they’re seeing after 47 years of Roe v. Wade and the devastation that’s it’s caused.”
Meanwhile, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer implied this week that the court’s conservative majority is ready to overturn Roe v. Wade. Writing about a different ruling, Breyer said it causes one to wonder ‘which cases the court will overrule next.’