After more than four hours of debate, the Republican-led Senate voted 25-6 to pass HB 314, which would slap doctors with up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion. Those bills point to the detection of a fetal heartbeat as the point at which an abortion is banned, but the Alabama ban goes further.
Senators rejected an attempt to add an exception for rape and incest.
For example, the Court of Appeals of Georgia refused to prosecute a woman who shot herself in the stomach to kill her unborn baby, interpreting Section 16-12-140 thus: "This statute is written in the third person, clearly indicating that at least two actors must be involved".
With Whitmer expected to veto the measures if they reach her desk, Right to Life is preparing to launch an identical citizens' initiative that could be enacted by lawmakers without her signature.
Sponsors insist they want to limit exceptions because the bill is created to push the idea that a fetus is a person with rights, in a direct challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision that established a woman's right to abortion. "When does a life become a life?" he said, opening the debate on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon. He also said that it is unfortunate that lawmakers want to punish women for the sake of a political movement.
The measure now goes to Governor Kay Ivey, who has not said whether she supports the measure.
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"It's like a racehorse in the Kentucky Derby - blinders on all sides - they just keep on this Roe v. Wade thing", Smitherman said.
Smitherman posed questions to Republican State Sen. It's part of a broader anti-abortion strategy to prompt the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the right to abortion.
Still, antiabortion advocates see an opening for implementing new abortion restrictions in the wake of Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court, which pushed the balance of power in favor of conservatives. "I have prayed my way through this bill".
Supporters of the legislation say it would restrict the use of a "barbaric" procedure they call "dismemberment" abortion, a nonmedical term for dilation and evacuation. "Until now, there was no prospect of reversing Roe", Alabama Pro-Life Coalition co-founder and president, Eric Johnston, who drafted the bill, told NYT.
Brownlee is a freelance journalist based in Alabama.