Right-wing televangelist Pat Robertson broke with conservative ranks shortly before Alabama's Republican Governor Kay Ivey signed the nation's most extreme abortion restrictions into law.
"Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act," Ivey tweeted after the signing. "To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious & that every life is a sacred gift from God."
Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act. To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation sta… https://t.co/iGzfUDMGRk— Governor Kay Ivey (@Governor Kay Ivey) 1557957411.0
The draconian law - which Ivey conceded may be "unenforceable" - 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 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. One such law in North Carolina was recently struck down as unconstitutional.
Robertson, himself an almost militant opponent of abortion, thinks Alabama's approach will be rejected by the courts, where it will certainly be challenged by civil rights and pro-choice groups.
"I think Alabama has gone too far. They've passed a law that would give a 99-year prison sentence to people who commit abortion," Robertson said on Wednesday's The 700 Club. "There's no exception for rape or incest. It's an extreme law."
Republicans "want to challenge Roe vs. Wade, but my humble view is I don’t think that’s the case I’d want to bring to the Supreme Court because I think this one will lose,” he said.
"It's an extreme law": Pat Robertson says that Alabama's anti-abortion law goes too far and will most likely lose a… https://t.co/BRuvjf0rEI— Right Wing Watch (@Right Wing Watch) 1557941011.0
Still, Robertson praised the Republican effort to strip women of their right to choose.
“God bless them, they’re trying to do something," he said of Alabama legislators.
You know the law goes too far if Robertson opposes it.
@washingtonpost @maggieNYT Too extreme for Pat Robertson? Is it so far to the right that it has become left?— Colonel Hans Tiergarten (@Colonel Hans Tiergarten) 1557960482.0
@washingtonpost Thought this was an Onion piece— pdizzle (@pdizzle) 1557962559.0
@washingtonpost You know you done effed up 🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤦♀️— Mari Jaye (@Mari Jaye) 1557962303.0
People are, albeit begrudgingly, finding themselves aligning with Robertson, and they are not okay.
@RightWingWatch https://t.co/LkjHBmbu4e— Jeff Fecke (@Jeff Fecke) 1557942029.0
@RightWingWatch Damn, even Pat Robertson thinks this is too much. Smh— manny marquez (@manny marquez) 1557942530.0
@RightWingWatch Stopped clock...— Nick Carlson, Recycled White Guy. (@Nick Carlson, Recycled White Guy.) 1557941402.0
@RightWingWatch My head just exploded.— The State Lottery (@The State Lottery) 1557941123.0
@RightWingWatch Damn! I’m agreeing with Pat Robertson now?!? I don’t want to live on this planet anymore— Terence Broxterman (@Terence Broxterman) 1557943780.0
Granted, Robertson's critique is more of a procedural one. Nevertheless, anti-choicers are hoping that legal challenges to Alabama's new law find their way to the Supreme Court, which is dominated by conservative justices.
“The American people want a fresh debate and a new direction, achieved by consensus and built on love for both mothers and babies,” Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement. “The time is coming for the Supreme Court to let that debate go forward.”
“Roe v. Wade has ended the lives of millions of children,” Republican State Senator Clyde Chambliss said in a statement after the bill's passage through the State Senate late Tuesday night. “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.”
Organizations like Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union have vowed to fight the law.
“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.”
You're right this bill is "unenforceable," @GovernorKayIvey. We're going to fight like hell to make sure that this… https://t.co/PqLoLsNGcG— Planned Parenthood Action (@Planned Parenthood Action) 1557960263.0
"You can’t say we didn’t warn you," the ACLU tweeted to Ivey. "See you in court."
You can’t say we didn’t warn you, @GovernorKayIvey. See you in court. https://t.co/L3sdNxaywC— ACLU (@ACLU) 1557961159.0
The Handmaid's Tale was not supposed to be a documentary, but here we are.