Less than a week after a fight broke out on the Alabama Senate floor over a proposal to ban abortion at the moment of conception, briefly delaying a vote that even Democrats recognized as inevitable, the state has gone ahead and passed it. If signed, it will become the most restrictive abortion law in the nation.
The proposal bans abortion at every point during pregnancy, including the moment of conception, and charges doctors who perform or attempt to perform the procedure with a felony that could carry up to 99 years in prison. The bill makes no exceptions for rape or incest; the only exception is life endangerment. “I know you all are for this bill—and I know this bill is going to pass,” Senator Vivian Davis Figures, a Democrat, said from the floor during the original vote last week. “You’re going to get your way. But at least treat us fairly, and do it the right way. That is all that I ask.”
Reproductive health organizations rightly denounced the vote. “Today is a dark day for women in Alabama and across this country,” Staci Fox, the president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates, said in a statement. “Banning abortion is bad enough. Imprisoning doctors for providing care goes beyond the brink. Alabama politicians will forever live in infamy for this vote and we will make sure that every woman knows who to hold accountable.”
The bill is part of a larger strategy for Republicans: Alabama Representative Terri Collins, the bill’s sponsor, explicitly wanted to ignite a legal challenge with the hope that the bill will move through the increasingly conservative court system and eventually trigger a reversal of Roe v. Wade.
They’ll get the fight they’re looking for. “We will not stand by while politicians endanger the lives of women and doctors for political gain,” Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project, wrote in a statement to CBS News. “Know this, Governor Ivey: If you sign this dangerous bill into law, we will see you in Court”
The bill now heads to her desk.