Alabama Senate heads toward vote on abortion ban measure

Alabama has the sixth lowest percentage of female legislative representation in the country

Alabama's new law mandating an nearly blanket ban on abortion, the strictest in the United States, was passed by this group of exclusively white, male politicians.

Alabama's state Senate has passed a bill that would outlaw almost all abortions, creating exceptions only to safeguard the health of the mother.

Sponsors insist they want to limit exceptions because the bill is created to push the idea that a fetus is a person with rights, in a direct challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision that established a woman's right to abortion.

The move is part of a multistate effort to have the US Supreme Court reconsider a woman's constitutional right to an abortion.

Republican Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth said in an interview before the vote that the debate was about the idea of "personhood" and whether a fetus has rights from the outset. The Republican-majority chamber adjourned in dramatic fashion when leaders tried to strip a committee amendment that would have added an exception for cases of rape or incest.

The Alabama bill goes further by seeking to outlaw abortion outright. But she also wants to make sure the law is strong enough to force federal court intervention - something she and others hope will lead to national restrictions on abortion.

There are no exceptions for rape or incest, which the author, state Rep. Terri Collins, said was intentional in order to give the bill a higher chance of forcing federal court, and eventually Supreme Court challenges.

The Week: "Georgia's "heartbeat" abortion bill could imprison women for life".

"You don't have to raise that child. Women who terminate their pregnancies would receive life in prison".

Doctors in the state would face felony jail time up to 99 years if convicted.

Democrats didn't have the votes to stop the bill but tried to slow down proceedings during the debate.

The group Physicians for Reproductive Health said the near total ban on abortions would have a disastrous effect on healthcare. The legislation now goes to Gov. Kay Ivey, who will decide whether to sign the bill into law.

In other words, an abortionist providing an illegal abortion, or a man beating a woman and killing her baby, would be in deep legal trouble for murder; not the woman so-called "self-terminating".

Similarly restrictive abortion bans in Kentucky and MS already are before the courts, and lawmakers in Alabama are fully aware that judges are likely to intervene.

All but one of the Senate's Democrats voted against the bill and staged a filibuster into Tuesday night after debating the bill for more than four hours, with senators discussing the role government should play in legislating what a woman can do with her body and the definition of life.

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