Rape, incest exceptions added to abortion bill

Rape, incest exceptions added to abortion bill
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would ban nearly all abortions in the state Wednesday morning.

The committee added exceptions in cases of rape and incest. The bill had originally given exceptions only in cases when the mother’s health was in danger.

Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, is the bill sponsor. She has said the intent of the bill is for it to challenge the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.

“Until Roe v. Wade is overturned, we can’t have the bills we feel is most appropriate for our state,” Collins said.

Sen. Clyde Chambliss is the sponsor for the Senate version of the bill. He said the additional exceptions weakens the bill’s ability to overturn Roe v. Wade. Chambliss said he wants to see the amendment stripped.

“In the situations of rape and incest it is a very difficult, difficult, situation following a horrendous act. But if we believe that life begins at conception, and I do, then life is lost,” said Chambliss. “There are still options that this bill does not take away.”

Chambliss referenced the morning after pill and adoption.

Opponents to the bill say the proposal is unconstitutional and the legal fight would cost the state money.

“It is highly unlikely that this bill will ever make it to the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Randall Marshall, the executive director for the ACLU of Alabama.

Marshall has said if the state loses in a legal battle, Alabama could lose millions of dollars.

Several people shared their personal testimony, including Samantha Blackely who said she became pregnant after she was raped.

“If abortion was not legal, I would have still had an abortion,” said Blackely. “Or I would just not be here. Because there’s no way I could be able to carry my rapists’ child. There’s no way.”

The committee also heard Christy Harmon, who shared her story of being adopted. She works with Lifeline Children Services that helps people through the adoption process and unplanned pregnancies.

“Against all odds my birth mother chose life for me. At 13 she was in rehab for the first time, at 18 she became pregnant with me,” said Harmon. “Even though she struggled, she believed that I deserved to not only live but be deeply cared for by my mom and dad who adopted me.”

The next step is for the Senate to vote on the bill. If the Senate approves the exceptions, the bill would then return to the House.

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