Alabama Republicans Tried to Pass a Blanket Abortion Ban. Then Chaos Erupted.

The bill would be the most restrictive abortion law in the country.

The Alabama state Senate erupted into furor Thursday when some Republicans tried to strip exceptions for rape and incest from a bill that would effectively ban abortion in the state. Lawmakers postponed a vote on the bill until next week after the exceptions were removed without a roll call vote.

The bill, if passed, would be the strictest abortion legislation in the nation, potentially making it a felony for doctors to perform the procedure. The bill directly opposes Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that guaranteed a woman’s right to an abortion until the fetus would be viable outside the womb.

The bill would make it a Class A felony for a physician to perform an abortion, and a Class C felony to attempt to perform one, meaning that a doctor could face up to 99 year in prison for performing an abortion and up to 10 years in prison for attempting one. The text of the bill compares aborted fetuses to Jewish victims of the Holocaust, as well as to victims of several other historical mass murders.

While the bill could send physicians who perform abortions to prison, it would protect women who receive abortions from being held criminally culpable.

Reproductive rights activists were quick to denounce the bill, saying it would harm women and violate the constitution. “These bans are blatantly unconstitutional and lawmakers know it—they just don’t care,” Staci Fox, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood Southeast, said in a statement. “Alabamians are just pawns in this political game to challenge access to safe, legal abortion nationally.”

The Alabama state House voted to approve its version of the bill last month, which would allow exceptions only in cases of “serious health risk” to the mother. Provisions to allow abortions in cases of rape or incest were considered Wednesday in the Senate, and will be debated again next week.

If the Senate approves the bill, Republican Gov. Kay Ivey will need to approve it before it becomes law. She has not publicly stated her opinion on the bill, but Alabama Republicans say they believe she will support it.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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