On Wednesday, May 15, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed bill HB314 into law, which would criminalize abortion in nearly all cases, including cases of rape and incest. The bill, set to take effect in six months, bans abortions at every stage of pregnancy, except for cases in which the mother’s life is at serious risk. The bill passed the state’s Republican-led Senate in a 25-6 vote. Democrats tried to include an amendment to exempt victims of rape and incest, but the motion failed in an 11-21 vote. The bill would also punish doctors who perform an abortion. The doctors who perform the procedure could be charged with a Class A felony and could face up to 99 years in prison.
“Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, a bill that was approved by overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Legislature,” Ivey, anti-abortion Republican, said in a statement. In her statement, she noted that the new law will likely be unenforceable due to Roe v. Wade, which ruled that unduly restrictive regulation of abortion is unconstitutional. However, Ivey said that the new law was passed with the goal of challenging the ruling and seeing it overturned.
Ivey wrote, “No matter one’s personal view on abortion, we can all recognize that, at least for the short term, this bill may similarly be unenforceable. As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court even when we disagree with their decisions.” She continued, “Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. 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.”
It comes as no surprise that each of the 25 votes in favor of the bill were not only from Republican Senators, but each of those Senators were male. It should also be no surprise that most of these very Senators don’t know how pregnancy or reproduction actually work, like Senator Clyde Chambliss, who said, “I’m not trained medically so I don’t know the proper medical terminology and timelines. But from what I’ve read, what I’ve been told, there’s some period of time before you can know a woman is pregnant.” He went on to say that a woman could end her pregnancy if she did not know she was even pregnant, stating, “There’s a window of time when a woman knows she’s pregnant that every option that’s on the table now is available. She has to do something to know whether she’s pregnant or not. It takes time for all the chromosomes to come together.”
Chambliss’s statements has prompted Planned Parenthood to issue a fact-checking tweet. “When asked if this bill makes an exception for victims of incest, Sen. Chambliss says, ‘yes, until she knows she’s pregnant,’” the tweet read. “Again, that would mean that that person would have to get an abortion before they know they’re pregnant. That’s not a thing.” The fact that ignorant Senators like Chambliss are trying to control reproductive rights for women is an immensely horrifying thought.
Alabama’s Orwellian abortion ban is deeply inhumane and so clearly unconstitutional. That supporters of the bill claim to be “pro-life” is a farce. They don’t care about protecting babies, they only want to control the bodies and autonomy of women and others who are able to get pregnant. The only thing this bill will do is put the lives of millions of women at risk, all to score points with their party. At the moment, abortion in Alabama is safe and legal, and hopefully it will continue that way. But if the bill ends up taking effect, abortion will still continue, only women will be forced to seek unsafe methods that will likely be detrimental to their health or even kill them.
Alabama, unfortunately, is not the only state passing such laws. Georgia has passed a similarly restrictive abortion ban, criminalizing and banning the procedure after about six weeks into pregnancy, before most women even know that they’re pregnant. And, as I was writing this article, Missouri lawmakers passed a bill banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. These are blatant attacks on women’s reproductive rights. Women’s civil and human rights are being trampled on by extremists seeking advancement in their agendas. No one has the right to decide whether a woman can get an abortion except for that woman herself. It is her right. It cannot and should not be negotiated.