Ala. Senate passes bill to ban nearly all abortions

Ala. Senate passes bill to ban nearly all abortions
The bill makes performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony unless the mother’s health is in danger. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The bill to ban nearly all abortions in Alabama passed in the Senate Tuesday night.

The bill makes performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony unless the mother’s health is in danger. Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, is the bill sponsor in the House. She has said the intent of the bill is for it to challenge the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.

On Thursday, a debate on the bill caused chaos in the Senate when an amendment allowing exceptions for cases of rape and incest was removed. The debate was shut down, and the Senate adjourned because of the disorder.

Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, the sponsor for the Senate version of the bill, said the additional exceptions would weaken the bill’s ability to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“So life is the question. When does the life become a life? And right now, legally, we don’t know the answer to that question," Chambliss said. "So this bill is in hopes of us answering that question.”

"The choice should be for a woman. Between her and her husband. Not the legislature to force morality on people,” said Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham.

During Tuesday’s debate, Sen. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile, offered her own amendments, one that would make members of the legislature who voted for the act responsible for legal fees, which some have estimated could cost around $2 million. It failed 24-6. Figures also offered an amendment to make it a felony for men to have a vasectomy.

Gov. Kay Ivey said Tuesday she will give the bill careful consideration, should it come to her desk, before making a decision on whether to sign it into law, even if the exceptions are not included in the final version.

The legislation comes after four states have approved abortion bans once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

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

For instant updates on the progress in the Senate, follow @AlabamaPolitics on Twitter.

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