In just the latest move that reproductive rights advocates warn is part of the prolonged effort to overturn Roe v. Wade, GOP state senators in Alabama sent what would be the nation's most extreme abortion ban to Republican Gov. Kay Ivey's desk late Tuesday.
"This unconstitutional measure would send women in the state back to the dark days of policymakers having control over their bodies, health, and lives."
—Toni Van Pelt, NOW
This "worst-of-its-kind" bill, already approved by the Alabama House, would ban abortion at every stage of pregnancy and criminalize providing the procedure as a felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison.
If the measure becomes law, the only exception under which a woman can terminate a pregnancy is if she faces a serious health risk. Most GOP senators rejected an amendment that would have added exceptions for rape and incest.
There is no punishment in this bill for the man doing the impregnating, except presumably the obligation to pay child support in some cases
— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) May 15, 2019
Lori Jhons, Ivey's spokesperson, told The Associated Press "the governor intends to withhold comment until she has had a chance to thoroughly review the final version of the bill that passed," but the vote tally suggests state lawmakers could easily override a veto.
These 25 white men – all Republicans – just voted to ban abortion in Alabama https://t.co/SXQKELlko4
— Guardian US (@GuardianUS) May 15, 2019
"This unconstitutional measure would send women in the state back to the dark days of policymakers having control over their bodies, health, and lives," warned Toni Van Pelt of the National Organization for Women (NOW). "We strongly oppose this bill and the other egregious pieces of legislation that extremist lawmakers are trying to pass in what they claim is an attempt to force the Supreme Court to overturn Roe."
"We have seen success from the last 40 years of having broader access to reproductive health services," says @Hegemommy. She says state bills against abortion rights, like the one just passed in Alabama, are part of a broader "political campaign" to overturn Roe v. Wade. pic.twitter.com/knfmPFnQVL
— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) May 15, 2019
"Anti-choice Republicans no longer even pretend to respect the law or the women that it protects," NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue said in a statement. She also recalled the widespread opposition to Brett Kavanaugh, whom President Donald Trump appointed and the U.S. Senate approved to the Supreme Court last year.
"When women stood up in record numbers to fight Kavanaugh's nomination, propelled by his alarming record and Trump's promise to nominate jurists committed to criminalizing abortion and punishing women, we were told we were 'hysterical' because Roe was settled law," Hogue said. "Not six months later, we are battling measures where the stated goal is exactly that: outlawing abortion."
It's easy to feel hopeless and defeated in this work. But there's so much good, too. My fellow clinic escorts show up every morning to protect patients. Abortion funders literally make access possible. No matter what, these volunteer networks will remain. WE AREN'T GOING ANYWHERE
— Lauren Rankin (@laurenarankin) May 15, 2019
The Very Rev. Katherine Ragsdale, interim president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, accused Republican lawmakers in Alabama of "playing games with people's lives and their constitutionally-protected rights," and called on Ivey to "put her constituents' health and rights first and veto this bill."
"We and our members will continue fighting," Ragsdale added, "to ensure people needing access to abortion care are able to obtain the compassionate healthcare they need."
Dr. Leana Wen, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, also promised her organization will challenge the "extreme and dangerous policy" that puts women's lives at even greater risk.
"With a record number of extreme bans on abortion and Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, our fundamental right to healthcare is under assault like never before," Wen said. "We will do whatever it takes to stop this dangerous bill so that patients can continue to access the care they need. We are in for the fight of our lives, for our patients' lives."
But this fight is not over. #HB314 is headed to the Governor's desk and she needs to hear from YOU. Email her NOW and tell her you oppose this dangerous abortion ban: https://t.co/POcwrZFHHe #alpolitics
— Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates (@PPSE_Advocates) May 15, 2019
Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, said in statement that his group, "along with the National ACLU and Planned Parenthood, will file a lawsuit to stop this unconstitutional ban and protect every woman's right to make her own choice about her healthcare, her body, and her future."
PSA: Abortion is still legal in all 50 states.
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.
— ACLU (@ACLU) May 15, 2019