Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed the law restricting abortion saying it represented the pro-life views of the state.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed the law restricting abortion saying it represented the pro-life views of the state.

Over the course of a couple weeks last month, Georgia, Missouri, and Alabama all passed significant bans on abortion. Georgia and Missouri passed so-called heartbeat bans that outlaw abortion after a heartbeat is detectable, typically after six weeks, although Missouri sets the standard at eight weeks; Missouri’s law, called the “Missouri Stands with the Unborn,” bill has an exception for “medical emergencies,” but not for rape and incest. Alabama passed a law that permits abortion only to save the life of the mother. Louisiana is debating a fetal heartbeat bill that Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards said he would likely sign; Edwards signed a law restricting abortion to 15 weeks just last year.

H.B. 314, the Human Life Protection Act, passed easily in both the Alabama House of Representatives and Senate before being signed by Republican Governor Kay Ivey. Abortion proponents and their allies in the media noted that all 25 state senators who voted for the law were white men, ignoring the female governor who signed the law and female supporters in the lower state house, where the law passed 74-3 after many Democrats walked out of the chamber. Governor Ivey said when signing the bill into law, “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.”

Last year, Alabama voters passed a referendum declaring “public policy of this state is to recognize and support the sanctity of human life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life.” Polls shows that more than half of state voters support banning all abortions.

During debate in the state house, Democrat state representative, John Rogers, defended abortion: “Some kids are unwanted … You bring them into the world unwanted, unloved, you send them to the electric chair. So, you kill them now or kill them later.”

The Alabama law raises the level of offense for committing an abortion from misdemeanour to felony, which raises the upper limit for prison sentencing. The new law, which will not punish women for obtaining an abortion, sets a maximum sentence of 99 years for carrying out an abortion.

Carrying out an abortion will be illegal once a woman knows she is pregnant. In Alabama, the morning-after pill is classified as birth control and therefore will not be affected by the new law.

The bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Terri Collins, said she wanted a law that would force the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wadeand that the Court might not take the state’s seriousness in defending preborn human life if there were exceptions in cases of rape and incest. “It has to be 100 per cent a person at conception,” she said of the need to force federal court intervention. Most legal analysts believe lower courts will throw out the Alabama and other state restrictions, but it is anyone’s guess whether the Supreme Court, with pro-life judges Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh appointed by President Donald Trump, might finally either overrule Roeor reinterpret it to permit strong restrictions in the first trimester.

Republicans in Washington and some social conservative leaders took issue with the Alabama law, saying it went too far. Donald Trump tweeted that he supported three exceptions – rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother – just like Ronald Reagan had. Similar sentiments were expressed by numerous senators and congressmen, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky).

Televangelist Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition and host of the “700 Club,” said he opposed the Alabama law because he thought it cannot successfully challenge Roe. “God bless the, they’re trying to do something,” he said on his TV show, while calling the bill “ill-considered.”

Clarke Forsythe, legal counsel for Americans United for Life, told the Washington Post, the strategy of pressing the Supreme Court to use this law to overturn Roeis a “high-risk, possibly high-cost,” gambit because “expecting a lightning strike and some abrupt change in the Supreme Court is not warranted.”

Most of the 24 candidates running for the Democratic presidential nomination have reacted against the restrictions. Senator Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) called the Alabama law “exceptionally cruel” and Senator Kamala Harris (Calif.) said “we will not stand for it.” Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, sent fundraising emails out to supporters highlighting the fight for abortion rights.

While most of the media focus has been on states – Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio – that are strongly curtailing the abortion license, Democrat-controlled legislatures in Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia have enacted or are considering laws to loosen abortion limits in the third trimester.

In some states, like with Georgia’s heartbeat law, the legal protections for preborn babies being passed now will not take effect untilRoeis overturned. The “Morning-After” pill is legally considered birth control and not a form of abortion, so it is not included in the legislation.

Tom McClusky of March for Life Action, defended the heartbeat bill, an approach rejected by the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition, as laying “the groundwork for pushing the envelope of life even farther” by “changing the culture” – politically, legally, and socially. State politicians have introduced or are preparing to introduce some version of a heartbeat law in ten states including Florida, Tennessee, and West Virginia, as well as two states that liberalized their abortion laws recently, Illinois and New York, where it is not expected to pass.

The courts have already blocked heartbeat laws in Iowa, Kentucky, and North Dakota. It is possible that they make it to the Supreme Court as the basis for a challenge to the Roedecision before Alabama’s law does.