Republicans in the Alabama State Senate on Tuesday passed a bill effectively outlawing abortion in The Yellowhammer State, teeing up a potential Supreme Court showdown over the future of a woman’s right to choose.
The draconian legislation – the most restrictive in the country and passed exclusively by men – prohibits terminating a pregnancy at any stage after conception except if the life of the mother is in danger. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. The proposed law also criminalizes the procedure itself. Doctors who perform abortions could face up to 99 years in prison.
This goes further than the anti-abortion bills in Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, and South Carolina, which ban abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest. A similar law was recently struck down in North Carolina as unconstitutional.
On Wednesday, one Alabama lawmaker gave a tearful speech on the floor of the state legislature recalling the painful conversation he had with his daughter after the measure’s passage.
“They’re just women, you can kick ’em in the gut, it don’t matter,” Democrat Bobby Singleton said. “It’s a sad day in Alabama, I feel like crying, I really do.”
“But I’m gonna hold my tears back, because what you just said to my little girl that it’s ok for a man to rape you. And you gotta have his baby if you get pregnant. you just said to my daughter…You don’t matter. You don’t matter in the State of Alabama.”
"What you just said to my little girl that it's ok for a man to rape you. And you gotta have his baby if you get pregnant … You don't matter. You don't matter in the State of Alabama," Alabama state Sen. Bobby Singleton (D) said. https://t.co/4aBYFIo9Ah pic.twitter.com/OOAZInt8sx
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) May 15, 2019
Singleton said that the law states that “you can be raped, or your uncles or cousins or somebody could just rape you, and impregnate you, and you gotta carry this baby under Alabama law.”
He explained to his daughter that “if you have this abortion, that doctor’s gonna go to jail for 99 years.”
“That’s sad, man,” Singleton said. “Cause I got two little girls who could be raped tomorrow.”
Even in case of sexual assault and incest, Alabama has passed a law that makes abortion illegal at any stage – from the moment of conception – completely robbing women in the state of their right to choose and their right to bodily autonomy. pic.twitter.com/GQYcBKNLfc
— The Femedic (@thefemedic) May 15, 2019
Chambliss revealed, in this response, that the #Alabama #abortion law has nothing to do with the sanctity of life, but everything to do with controlling women’s bodies. The legal gymnastics involved here are appalling. https://t.co/SRuAjHAsVg
— Amy Keller (@amyekeller) May 15, 2019
A reminder that Jewish law supports abortion in some cases, so these stringent bans in states like Georgia and Alabama are actually an affront to Jewish women's religious freedom. https://t.co/z9PB8N0AcE
— Rebecca Galanti (@RebeccaGalanti) May 15, 2019
I think Alabama didn’t considerate all the options about abortion law carefully and decided to go in a very extreme path
It’s unfortunately that the ones that need/want it for XY reasons can’t get it 😕
— Carlos Rosas (@carlosros0708) May 15, 2019
This is what Republicans think of women.
I would assume Alabama has plans established to support ALL women who deliver unwanted babies. Free medical, free mental health care 4 the mother and her family, adoption agencies with families willing to adopt without any fees attached. Alabama cares so much about these babies.
— Northnusdivadland (@nusdivad) May 15, 2019
Nobody's daughter matters to conservatives. Only the power to control people matters.
— Richard Steele (@Steelpilot1) May 15, 2019
To Conservatives…the ONLY time a daughter matters is when they are seen and not speaking. Alabama hasn't come into this century, yet.
— Raevon (@Darkest_Sin) May 15, 2019
I agree. Like with the Alabama law, even if the girl is raped, or going thru with the pregnancy will kill the mother, she can’t get an abortion (if I understand the law correctly). That’s wrong imo
— Louis Schaab (@LouisSchaab) May 15, 2019
Alabama passed that abortion law making a felony to perform one punishable by life or 99 years. This is stupid. A woman has rights its her body not Alabama or another states to control. So if in rare cases a fetus is dead she has to carry it to term? Smh
— John Wicker basket (@sotx_southpaw) May 15, 2019
Alabama’s new abortion law absolutely disgusts me, and makes my heart aches for women around the globe, and in Alabama. To see such a horrible law go into effect is incredibly disheartening. Please make sure to vote these fools out in 2020.
— Big Boss (@Jewchaynz) May 15, 2019
Protesters dressed up as handmaids crowded the streets outside the Alabama State Capitol.
— AL.com (@aldotcom) May 15, 2019
— Jeff Eliasoph (@JeffWVTM13) April 17, 2019
Democrats are disgusted and terrified.
As the bill was debated, Singleton read names of rape victims in attendance and emphasized the fact that under the law, abortion providers would be punished more harshly than rapists.
“The state of Alabama ought to be ashamed of herself. You ought to be ashamed. Go look in the mirror,” Singleton said. “Women in this state didn’t deserve this. This is all about political grandstanding.”
US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also blasted the bill.
“A child is raped, has to have the baby,” Schumer said, shaking his head. “The Alabama bill is as extreme as it gets. “It’s a clear attack on a woman’s freedom. It contravenes a woman’s constitutional right to make private medical decisions. It would deeply hard women, turn doctors into criminals, deny the right of rape victims, even if they are children, to make personal medical decisions.”
“The Alabama abortion bill is plainly inhumane,” he continued. “It should never have been passed. The governor should not sign it, and if she does, it ought to be swiftly struck down by the courts.”
The Republican Alabama State Senate passed perhaps the most draconian abortion law in the country
It bans abortion at every stage of pregnancy,
Imposes criminal penalties on any doctor who performs one,
Includes no exception in the case of rape or inces… pic.twitter.com/oadEEyBk8k
— David Moonman (@DavidMoonman) May 15, 2019
Republicans, on the other hand, are now further emboldened in their quest to have Roe v. Wade overturned by the Supreme Court, a possibility that would have been unthinkable only months ago.
“Roe v. Wade has ended the lives of millions of children,” Republican State Senator Clyde Chambliss said in a statement. “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.”
Governor Kay Ivey (R) signed the bill into law late Wednesday afternoon.
The blatantly unconstitutional Alabama law – like its counterparts in other red states – will certainly face immediate legal challenges by civil rights groups.
“Today is a dark day for women in Alabama and across this country,” Staci Fox of Planned Parenthood Southeast said in a statement. “Alabama politicians will forever live in infamy for this vote and we will make sure that every woman knows who to hold accountable.”
Republicans are banking on at least one of these lawsuits making its way to the conservative Supreme Court – the final hurdle in their decades-long effort to take away women’s bodily autonomy.
This story has been updated.