How the Alabama Abortion Ban came to be, and what happens next

 

Before Tuesday, May 14, I had never heard of Alabama’s plan to ban all abortions with the exception of a medical emergency, even though the bill was introduced over a month and a half ago on April 2, 2019. Although the media has demonized all the male senators who but this bill into action, it was actually representative Terri Collins who sponsored this bill that was formally named the Human Life Protection Act. When the Democratic House minority leader, Anthony Daniels, proposed an amendment that would make exceptions for victims of rape and incest, Collins opposed it, and the amendment got struck down in the House 72-26. Collins has claimed that her “goal with this bill is to let the Supreme Court possibly revisit [the Roe v. Wade] decision on just the issue that they made that decision, which was, is that baby in the womb a person,” basically meaning that she hopes this law will get contested at the Supreme Court level, where Roe vs. Wade could possibly be overturned.

 

The bill was met with little resistance in the legislative process. On April 30, 2019, in the Alabama House of Representatives, the bill passed with a vote of 74-3, with 2 no shows or abstentions from the Republicans, and 25 no shows or abstentions from the Democrats, because most of them had walked out during the floor debate. The bill then moved to the Senate, where it passed with a vote of 25-6 on May 14, 2019, with 2 abstentions or no shows from the Republicans, and 2 from the Democrats. At the Senatorial level, the same amendment that was proposed at the House level to make exceptions for victims of rape and incest was again shot down by a vote of 21-11. The very next day it was signed into law by governor Kay Ivey.

 

Photo by Sebastian Pichler on Unsplash

 

Now, what does this bill actually mean? What are its consequences? Under this bill, also known as House Bill 314 (HB314), abortion is classified as a Class A felony, meaning that being a doctor who performs abortions is as criminal as being a murderer or rapists. All three felonies would warrant a sentence of a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 99 years. An attempted abortion is a Class C felony, which would result in a lesser sentence. Although the bill was signed into law yesterday on May 15, it will not go into effect for another 6 months.

 

This bill can mean a lot of things in the long run. It can mean a string of unsafe abortions and maternal deaths for women in Alabama after this bill officially goes into effect. Now that Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit, this bill could result in a revisit of Roe vs. Wade at the Supreme Court level. For now, all the average citizen can do is express their dissent. Citizens in Alabama should write and call their representatives and senators to express their dissatisfaction.