Last night, lawmakers in Alabama voted to restrict abortion further than any other state since 1973. The Senate majority (consisting of all white men) voted 25 votes to six to make abortion almost entirely illegal, even in the case of rape or incest. The only time abortion will be allowed is if the mother’s health is in serious jeopardy. The bill will now head up to Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, who will most certainly sign it.
Alabama joins a long line of Republican-led states that are imposing strict abortion laws. Alabama, however, has the harshest restrictions of them all. If a doctor performs an abortion there, they face 99 years in prison. While Republican lawmakers are signing abortion bills left, and right, they will all most likely be struck down in courts because they violate the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the historic Roe v. Wade case of 1973 that legalized abortion. The American Civil Liberties Union vows to take all of these bills to court, and Republican lawmakers understand that very well. In their eyes, while their bills will get overturned, the larger picture is that the shift is turning in their favor. Each state that passes abortion restrictions is one step closer to overturning Roe v. Wade.
BREAKING: Alabama's legislature just passed a law that criminalizes doctors and makes abortion illegal.
Abortion is NOT a crime — it's a constitutional right.
We will sue to stop this law from ever taking effect.
— ACLU (@ACLU) May 15, 2019
“The dynamic has changed,” Eric Johnston, founder of Alabama Pro-Life Coalition who helped draft the bill, said to NPR. “The judges have changed, a lot of changes over that time, and so I think we’re at the point where we need to take a bigger and a bolder step.”
Johnston suggests that because the Supreme Court is now made up of conservative justices, there is a strong chance they will approve these abortion restrictions. If the bill ultimately passes, Alabama Senator Linda Coleman-Madison, who voted against it, said women would find a way to have an abortion whether they go to another state or have an abortion in an unsafe way.
“We want abortions to be safe, and we want them to be few, but it should be legal because there will be abortions,” Coleman-Madison said to The New York Times. “The people who have the wherewithal will fly out of state,” she added. “Not everyone can afford to do that.”
The ACLU reminded people that abortion is still legal in 50 states, and tweeted, “It’s true that states have passed laws trying to make abortion a crime, but we will sue in court to make sure none of those laws ever go into effect.”