Alabama moves to ban abortion, including for rape and incest cases

Alabama moves to ban abortion, including for rape and incest cases

Kerry Wise
May 16, 2019

There is nothing at all inherently wrong with passing legislation that violates current U.S. Supreme Court precedent, so long as fellow constitutional actors - here, Alabama state legislators - earnestly believe they are acting soundly within the confines of the Constitution as they independently construe it, in accordance with their oaths of office. A vote on the measure had been temporarily tabled after the state Senate broke out in "chaos" debating an amendment to make exceptions in cases of rape and incest. Four Republican senators joined Democrats in voting in favor of the rape or incest exception, which was defeated 21-11.

It would be one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the United States.

Other provisions in the wide-ranging abortion bill include a ban on abortions based on race, sex or a "prenatal diagnosis, test, or screening indicating Down Syndrome or the potential of Down Syndrome in an unborn child".

The lopsided vote in the legislature suggests a veto could be easily overcome.

"As this legislation is still making its way through the legislative process, the governor intends to withhold comment until it makes its way to her desk for signature", deputy press secretary Lori Jhons wrote in an email.

It's the latest in an onslaught of state-level anti-abortion measures that activists hope will be taken up by the Supreme Court and potentially overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that protects a woman's right to the procedure.

There are other cases already pending at the high court that could give the conservative majority the opportunity to weaken Roe v. Wade. One requires fetal remains to be buried or cremated and bans abortions performed because of fetal disability or the sex or race of the fetus.

"You don't care anything about babies having babies in this state, being raped and incest", Democratic Sen.

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Sponsor Rep. Terri Collins says she expects the governor to support the ban.

"Roe v. Wade has ended the lives of millions of children", Alabama Republican Sen.

Opponents called that legislation a virtual ban because embryonic heartbeats can be detected as early as six weeks, before a woman may be aware she is pregnant. But she also wants to make sure the law is strong enough to force federal court intervention - something she and others hope will lead to national restrictions on abortion.

CORRECTS LAST NAME TO HARTLINE INSTEAD OF HARDLINE - Bianca Cameron-Schwiesow, from left, Kari Crowe and Margeaux Hartline, dressed as handmaids, take part in a protest against HB314, the abortion ban bill, at the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Ala., on Wednesday April 17, 2019.

During debate, Singleton pointed out and named rape victims watching from the Senate viewing gallery.

Planned Parenthood South-east Advocates said in a statement that it was "a dark day for women in Alabama and across this country".

"We made women of Alabama the model of the new Roe v. Wade", Singleton continued.

Outside the Statehouse, a crowd of about 50 people held a rally, chanting, "Whose choice?" "It should be that woman's choice". "That new law is scheduled to take effect January 1".