It’s being called a “death sentence for women.” Alabama legislatures have proposed a law that would make getting an abortion at any stage of pregnancy punishable by up to 99 years in prison.
The bill was introduced on Tuesday and would outlaw all abortions from the time a woman is “known to be pregnant,” including cases of rape and incest. It also outlaws the use of prescription abortion drugs. The only exception would be an instance where there is a “serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.” Any doctor performing an abortion would be hit with a Class A felony.
The language of the bill equates abortion to the mass murders of Jewish people and others that occurred during the Holocaust.
“More than 50 million babies have been aborted in the United States since the Roe decision in 1973, more than three times the number who were killed in German death camps, Chinese purges, Stalin’s gulags, Cambodian killing fields, and the Rwandan genocide combined,” the bill states.
Currently, the legislation has more than 60 co-sponsors in the Alabama house of representatives.
According to Republican representative Terri Collins, the intention of the bill is to force the Supreme Court to take steps to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“I think people are seeing a possibility that the Supreme Court might have a more conservative-leaning balance,” Collins said.
Concern that Roe v. Wade may be overturned or severely limited has been on the rise with the appointment of justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
Alabama is the latest state in the last several months to attempt to pass a strict abortion ban. Kentucky and Mississippi have passed bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, and both South Carolina and Georgia are considering similar measures.
However, it’s unclear whether Alabama lawmakers will get what they’re hoping for. In Louisiana, a recently-passed law requiring that any doctor performing an abortion also have admitting privileges at a local hospital was temporarily blocked in a 5-4 Supreme Court decision stating that it could place an undue burden on access to abortion.
Many critics argue that Republicans in these states are creating unnecessary legal battles that will be futile – at considerable expense to taxpayers. As of June 2018, Louisiana had spent more than $1 million to defend its abortion restrictions since 2014, and received a bill for $4.7 million more from lawyers who won a federal court case brought by one of the state’s abortion clinics.
“These bans are blatantly unconstitutional and lawmakers know it,” said Planned Parenthood Southeast CEO Staci Fox. “Alabamians are just pawns in this political game to challenge access to safe, legal abortion nationally.”
Jenn Bentley is a writer and editor originally from Cadiz, Kentucky. Her writing has been featured in publications such as The Examiner, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, and others. When she’s not writing or editing, Jenn spends her time raising money for Extra Life and advocating for autism awareness. Follow her on Twitter: @JennBentley_