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Alabama GOP votes to require rape and incest victims to give birth

Alabama just passed the most extreme anti-choice bill in the nation.

By Lisa Needham - May 15, 2019
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Alabama Sen. Clyde Chambliss

Tuesday night, the Alabama Senate — following the lead of the Alabama House — voted to functionally ban abortion.

The bill as passed by both chambers has no exceptions for rape or incest. Doctors who perform abortions could go to jail for 99 years.

The bill’s author, Rep. Terri Collins, acknowledges that passage of the bill was explicitly designed as a challenge to Roe v. Wade, saying it is “not meant to be a long-term forever law.” That’s not true. If people like Collins have her way, this is exactly the sort of law we’ll see. Their entire goal is to overturn Roe and replace it with these sorts of bans.

Collins is also willing to play politics with victims of rape and incest, saying that she “empathized” with victims, but needed to make sure the bill had no exceptions to so that it would force the courts to intervene.

As Alabama moves toward forcing women to give birth, it’s worth remembering that the state has some of the worst health care in the nation and that only 16 of the state’s 54 rural counties have hospitals that offer ob/gyn services.

Maybe the lack of obstetrical care explains why some of the men pushing this ban are so confused about the mechanics of pregnancy. Eric Johnston of the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition helped draft the bill, and he said that “a man and woman can have sex and you can take her straight into a clinic and determine an egg and sperm came together.” That is simply not true.

One of the GOP state senators most enthusiastically backing this measure, Clyde Chambliss, tried to explain that the bill does have an exception for victims of incest. Those victims, he explained, could get an abortion “until she knows she’s pregnant.” It’s entirely unclear how Chambliss thinks that would work.

There’s a small chance this doesn’t become law. Governor Kay Ivey, a Republican, said she was waiting for the final version of the bill in order to decide if she would sign it. However, Ivey is staunchly anti-choice and has previously said she would take a case to the U.S. Supreme Court to “protect the lives of the unborn.”

Extreme anti-choice conservatives have been emboldened by the installation of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, which gives the Supreme Court a solid anti-choice majority. It’s only a matter of time before one of these laws comes before a Court that seems ideally suited to gutting abortion rights in America.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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