What happens next with Alabama's near-total abortion ban
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Televangelist Pat Robertson said he thinks Alabama went "too far" with a controversial abortion bill that could punish doctors who perform abortions with life in prison.
"I think Alabama has gone too far," he said Wednesday during an episode of "The 700 Club." "There's no exception for rape or incest. It's an extreme law and they want to challenge Roe v. Wade."
He continued: "But my humble view is that this is not the case we want to bring to the Supreme Court because I think this one will lose."
The bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday, only allows exceptions "to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child's mother," for ectopic pregnancy and if the "unborn child has a lethal anomaly."
The law carries stiff penalties for those caught violating it. For example, doctors could face up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion in the state.
Staci Fox, president and CEO at Planned Parenthood Southeast, said the organization will take Alabama's new anti-abortion law to court.
In a statement, Fox said:
"We vowed to fight this dangerous abortion ban every step of the way and we meant what we said. We haven’t lost a case in Alabama yet and we don’t plan to start now. We will see Governor Ivey in court. In the meantime, abortion is still safe, legal, and available in the state of Alabama and we plan to keep it that way."
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday signed into law a controversial abortion bill that could punish doctors who perform abortions with life in prison.
"Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, a bill that was approved by overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Legislature," said Ivey, a Republican, in a statement. "To the bill's many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians' deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God."
The Alabama Senate passed the bill 25-6 late Tuesday night. The law only allows exceptions "to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child's mother," for ectopic pregnancy and if the "unborn child has a lethal anomaly." Democrats re-introduced an amendment to exempt rape and incest victims, but the motion failed on an 11-21 vote.
Read the rest of Ivey's statement:
"To all Alabamians, I assure you that we will continue to follow the rule of law.
In all meaningful respects, this bill closely resembles an abortion ban that has been a part of Alabama law for well over 100 years. As today’s bill itself recognizes, that longstanding abortion law has been rendered “unenforceable as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.
No matter one’s personal view on abortion, we can all recognize that, at least for the short term, this bill may similarly be unenforceable. As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court even when we disagree with their decisions. Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur.
I want to commend the bill sponsors, Rep. Terri Collins and Sen. Clyde Chambliss, for their strong leadership on this important issue.
For the remainder of this session, I now urge all members of the Alabama Legislature to continue seeking the best ways possible to foster a better Alabama in all regards, from education to public safety. We must give every person the best chance for a quality life and a promising future.”
The Alabama Senate on Tuesday passed the most restrictive abortion bill in the country — a near-total ban on all abortions.
According to Eric Johnston, president of the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition, who helped craft the legislation, the bill was specifically designed to go to the Supreme Court and challenge Roe v. Wade.
Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey now has six days to sign the legislation into law, which would then become enforceable six months later and would carry stiff penalties for those caught violating it. For example, doctors could face up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion in the state.
So what are the chances the law will be implemented anytime soon? Next to none.
Facts first: Given the amount of legal challenges it's likely to face, along with past rulings on other anti-abortion legislation, the law will probably be tied up in court for years, delaying enforcement. The Supreme Court has discretion over what cases it hears, and there is no guarantee the justices would take up the Alabama ban if it is struck down in lower courts.
The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood have already announced plans to file lawsuits against the Alabama bill, arguing it's unconstitutional. These organizations, as they have in the past, will likely also ask federal district courts for a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order to prevent the law from going into effect, while arguments over the constitutionality of the law work their way through the courts.
That means a federal judge would decide whether to temporarily block the law or allow it to take effect. US district judges routinely block anti-abortion laws from taking effect while litigation is underway.
US Sen. Richard Shelby, from Alabama, won’t say if he backs his state’s bill to outlaw abortion in most cases.
The Republican lawmaker told CNN that he “always” has supported the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortions and noted that he’s also “always supported” exceptions for rape and incest.
Asked if that meant he opposes the more restrictive Alabama law, Shelby, the state’s senior GOP senator, said, “I don’t oppose any of that because I’m not in the legislature ... I don’t know anything about it anymore than you know.”
Lady Gaga just tweeted a reaction to the Alabama abortion bill, expressing outrage that that it excludes victim of rape and incest and punishes doctors with harsher penalties than rapists.
"It is an outrage to ban abortion in Alabama period, and all the more heinous that it excludes those [who] have been raped or are experiencing incest non-consensual or not," the singer said. "So there's a higher penalty for doctors who perform these operations than for most rapists? This is a travesty and I pray for all these women and young girls who will suffer at the hands of this system."
She included the hashtag: #NoUterusNoOpinion."
See her tweet: