The Alabama Senate on Tuesday passed the country’s most restrictive ban on abortion, outlawing the practice even in cases of rape and incest and providing an exception only when the life of the mother is in danger.
The measure, one of several proposals to curb abortion being pushed in various states, could ultimately spark a legal battle that paves the way for a new challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that generally legalized abortion in the United States
“It’s to address the issue that Roe. v. Wade was decided on. Is that baby in the womb a person?” said Rep. Terri Collins, the bill’s sponsor.
The Senate passed the bill on a 25-6 vote, after the House passed it 74-3 several weeks ago.
It’s unclear whether GOP Gov. Kay Ivey will sign the measure, but there is sufficient support in the legislature to override a potential veto.
“Roe v. Wade has ended the lives of millions of children,” Republican Sen. Clyde Chambliss said in a statement after the bill’s passage. “While we cannot undo the damage that decades of legal precedence under Roe have caused, this bill has the opportunity to save the lives of millions of unborn children.”
The measure would make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison for the abortion provider. It would not punish the woman receiving the abortion.
Ms. Collins said it isn’t intended to be a long-term measure, and that lawmakers could add a rape exception if states regain control of abortion access.
The Democratic National Committee said the measure could endanger the lives of women in the state.
“With Trump in the White House and Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, abortion bans in state legislatures have skyrocketed nationwide in a shameful effort to overturn Roe v. Wade,” said DNC Chairman Tom Perez.
• The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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