Dave Martin / AP: The Fatal Fatal Anomaly is a Fatal Anomaly.
The Alabama Senate passed a bill Tuesday night to ban almost all abortions. The State House had already overwhelmingly approved the legislation. It's part of a broader anti-abortion strategy to prompt the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the right to abortion.
It would be one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the United States.
The vote was 25-6, with one abstention.
The vote was 25-6, with one abstention. ] Doctors in the state would face felony jail time up to 99 years if convicted. But a woman would not be held criminally liable for having an abortion.
Debbie Elliott / NPR Stiller Calls for Legislative Politics and a "Affront to Women's Rights."
The only exceptions are a serious health risk for a pregnant woman or a lethal anomaly of the fetus. There are no exceptions to cases of rape or incest, and that was a sticking point when the Alabama Senate first tried to debate the measure last Thursday. The Republican-majority chamber was suspended in dramatic fashion when leaders tried to strip a committee amendment that would have added an exception for cases of rape or incest.
Sponsors insist they want to limit exceptions because the bill is designed 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.
"Human life has rights, and when someone takes those rights, that's when we have to step in," said Republican Clyde Chambliss, the Senate sponsor of the abortion ban.
The amendment has divided Republicans. Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, who heads over the Senate, posted on Twitter that his position is simple – "Abortion is a murder." But other Senate leaders have insisted that there are exceptions for rape and incest
Democrats did not have the votes to stop the bill but tried to slow down proceedings during the debate.
Democratic Sen. Vivian Davis figures questioned why supporters would not want victims of rape or incest to have an exception for a horrific act
"To take that choice away from that person who had such a traumatic act committed against them, the rest of that person, if you want to bring that child into this world and be reminded of it every single day, "Figures said.
The ACLU of Alabama is on record saying it will sue if the bill becomes law. Republican Gov. Kay Ivey did not say whether she would sign it and said she was waiting for a final version of the bill. She is considered a strong opponent of abortion.
Chipping away at abortion rights
In recent years, conservative states have passed laws that have been chipped away to the right to abortion with stricter regulations, including time limits, waiting periods and medical requirements on doctors and clinics. This year's state lawmakers are going even further now that there's a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court.
"The strategy here is that we will win," says Alabama Pro-Life Coalition President Eric Johnston, who helped craft the Alabama abortion ban
"There are many factors and the main one is two new judges that could give the ability to have Roe reviewed, "Johnston said. "And Justice Ginsburg – no one knows about her health."
So states are pushing the envelope. Several, including Alabama's neighbors Georgia and Mississippi, have passed laws that prohibit abortion once and fetal heartbeat can be detected. But the drafters of the Alabama bill think of having no threshold other than if a woman is pregnant, their law might be the one ripe for the Supreme Court review.