The legislation would make performing an abortion a felony at any stage of pregnancy with almost no exceptions, The Associated Press reported.
The passage on Tuesday by a wide margin in the GOP-led Senate shifted the spotlight to Gov. Kay Ivey, a fixture in Alabama politics who’s long been identified as anti-abortion.
Ivey has not said whether she’ll sign the bill. Sponsor Rep. Terri Collins said she expects the governor to support the ban. And the lopsided vote suggests a veto could be easily overcome. But an Ivey spokeswoman said before Tuesday’s vote that “the governor intends to withhold comment until she has had a chance to thoroughly review the final version of the bill that passed.”
In Alabama and other conservative states, anti-abortion politicians and activists emboldened by the addition of conservative justices to the US Supreme Court hope to ignite legal fights and eventually overturn the landmark 1973 decision Roe v. Wade, putting an end to the constitutional right to abortion.
“Roe v. Wade has ended the lives of millions of children,” Alabama Republican Sen. 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.”
Democrats didn’t shy away from blasting their GOP counterparts.
“The state of Alabama ought to be ashamed of herself. You ought to be ashamed. Go look in the mirror,” Sen. Bobby Singleton said “Women in this state didn’t deserve this. This is all about political grandstanding.”
The bill would make performing an abortion a felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison for the abortion provider. The only exception would be when the woman’s health is at serious risk. Under the bill, women seeking or undergoing abortions wouldn’t be punished.
Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy. The Alabama bill goes further by seeking to outlaw abortion outright.
Alabama senators rejected an attempt to add an exception for rape and incest. The amendment was voted down 21-11, with four Republicans joining Democrats in the seeking the amendment.
Supporters had argued that exceptions would weaken their hope of creating a vehicle to challenge Roe. Collins said that the law isn’t meant to be a long-term measure and that lawmakers could add a rape exception if states regain control of abortion access.
“It’s to address the issue that Roe. v. Wade was decided on. Is that baby in the womb a person?” Collins said.