Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a controversial bill Wednesday that bans nearly all abortions in the state, including in cases of incest and rape.
The Alabama Human Life Protection Act is one the most restrictive anti-abortion laws since Roe v. Wade legalized the procedure nationwide in 1973. The act bans performing abortions in the state and imposes criminal penalties of up to 99 years in prison on doctors who perform an abortion. In addition, the Act goes further than most other recent abortion bans, with no exceptions to the ban except when the mother’s life is threatened by the pregnancy, including banning abortions when the fetus is conceived from rape or incest. These “carve out” exceptions to abortion laws are widely popular even among people who are otherwise anti-abortion, with a 2018 Gallup poll showing 77% of Americans favor allowing abortions in cases of rape or incest. The bill passed through Alabama’s Republican dominated House of Representatives and Senate with overwhelming majorities.
In a statement issued following her signing of the bill, Ivey described the act as “unenforceable” and directly contrary to the precedent set by Roe v. Wade. Echoing the sponsors of the bill, she stated that the purpose in passing such a restrictive law was to force the federal courts to weigh in on the legality of abortion and “for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter” in the hope that they will overturn Roe.
The American Civil Liberties Union has already committed to bringing a lawsuit to block the law’s implementation.
Since the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court last year, numerous states have raced to implement restrictive abortion laws with the hope that the new conservative majority on the court will overturn Roe. Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky have all recently passed “fetal heartbeat” bills that bans abortions later than six weeks into the pregnancy, while Texas and North Carolina have implemented “born alive” bills.