Ala. lawmakers pass bill making abortion a felony; Gov. Kay Ivey defends it

A pro-life activist holds up a sign reading 'Courageously Abolishing Abortion,' outside the Court in Washington, June 26, 2014.
A pro-life activist holds up a sign reading "Courageously Abolishing Abortion," outside the Court in Washington, June 26, 2014. | Photo: Reuters/Jim Bourg

A bill that would make it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion in Alabama was defended Wednesday by Gov. Kay Ivey after the state’s Senate voted to pass what many say will be the strictest abortion ban in the nation.

If the bill becomes law, it would be a Class A felony for a doctor to perform an abortion and a Class C felony for attempting to perform an abortion in six months. The only exemption under the bill is if there is a serious health risk to the mother. There is no exception in the bill for victims of rape or incest.

The fate of the controversial bill, which was passed 25-6 in the Senate on Tuesday night and passed earlier by the Alabama House, now rests in the hands of Ivey, who told reporters Wednesday morning that “all human life is precious” when asked about victims of rape and incest being forced to carry their babies to term.

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The measure, which was designed to challenge and overturn Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court, is expected to trigger a costly legal battle for the state. Even though she won’t make a decision on the bill before she has a chance to review it late Wednesday, Ivey said defending the unborn shouldn’t be limited by cost.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey | Facebook

“You certainly cannot deter your efforts to protect the unborn because of cost, even if it means going to the United States Supreme Court,” she said.

Live Action founder and President Lila Rose celebrated the anti-abortion crusade on Wednesday as “inspiring.”

“So proud of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio. Of all the women & men that stood up against the abortion industry & the crusade of lies, misinformation & fear-mongering, & said we will fight so our laws protect LIFE. We will make our states a safer home for mothers & children,” she tweeted. “And Georgia! The work of these states in the last six months has been incredible and inspiring. One state, one community at a time: eradicate the industries that profit from deaths & make our communities safer for children & families.”

As pro-life advocates celebrated the passage of the bill, abortion advocates, including many 2020 Democrat presidential candidates, decried it as a backward step for women.

“The Alabama Senate voted to outlaw nearly all abortions. These hypocrites decry ‘big government,’ yet they want to control every aspect of women's bodies, private decisions, and futures. Our job is to fight at every step to protect reproductive rights,” Sen. Bernie Sanders noted on Twitter.

Andrew Yang, said he doesn’t believe government should be involved in making decisions for women.

“The Alabama law banning and criminalizing abortion even in cases of rape or incest is a dramatic step in the wrong direction. Government should not be making decisions on behalf of women. I would protect women’s right to choose,” he tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

Staci Fox, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates, told The New York Times, “Today is a dark day for women in Alabama and across this country. Banning abortion is bad enough. Imprisoning doctors for providing care goes beyond the brink. Alabama politicians will forever live in infamy for this vote and we will make sure that every woman knows who to hold accountable.”

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