By: Nana Aduba-Amoah
Today birthed the reality of a new health law that could criminalize abortion procedures in the state of Alabama.
The Alabama Human Life Protection Act was passed by Alabama state senators yesterday, Tuesday, May 14, and signed by Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey today, according to a recent report by the Associated Press.
“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,” Ivey said in a statement.
The legislation will make abortion practices a felony in Alabama, which could be punishable by 10 to 99 years in prison. The new bill will also apply to victims of rape and incest, and only allows an exception if the pregnancy becomes a health risk.
However, the bill poses several concerns for both pro-life and pro-choice supporters. One of the many pressing issues, which Ivey addressed in her statement, is how the state plans to enforce a law that opposes the U.S. Supreme Court decision to allow legal abortions nationwide in Roe v Wade.
“Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973,” Ivey stated. “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.”
But the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama Executive Director, Randall Marshall, is threatening a lawsuit for the possible legal cost from challenging the bill in the Supreme Court, CNN reports.
“We will not allow that to happen, and we will see them in court,” Marshall said. “Despite the governor signing this bill, clinics will remain open, and abortion is still a safe, legal medical procedure at all clinics in Alabama.”
Some pro-choice supporters view the bill as obstruction of women’s right. Senator Linda Coleman-Madison, a Birmingham Democrat, said the legislation prohibits women from making their own personal decisions.
“It just completely disregards women and the value of women and their voice,” she said, in a report by the Associated Press. “We have once again silenced women on a very personal issue.”
However, Rep. Terri Collins, one of the bill’s sponsors, said some women believe that the legislation is necessary.
“I’ve heard from lots of women in the state who are extremely pro-life, and they’re very supportive,” Collins said, according to the Associated Press.