Abortion fight heats up
BY SANDHYA RAMAN
CQ-ROLL CALL / TNS
WASHINGTON – Advocates are preparing for a legal battle after Alabama Governor Kay Ivey approved the strictest abortion law in the country on Wednesday, part of a growing national push by abortion opponents to test whether the courts will curb constitutional protections for the procedure.
Alabama’s move, which would essentially ban abortion in most cases, could open the door to restrictions in other states – even though they will all likely be challenged in court. Other states are already pursuing and defending laws to ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth backed the bill with zero exceptions. He posted a video of himself on Facebook challenging the 1973 Roe v. Wade court decision legalizing abortions. “Abortion is murder,” said Ainsworth. “Those three simple words sum up my position on an issue that many falsely claim is a complex one.”
Alabama’s law goes farther than the approach taken in many other red states. It would ban abortion at any stage of pregnancy, unless needed to save the life of the woman, and has no exceptions for rape or incest. Abortion providers who violate these terms could be charged with a felony and punished for up to 99 years in prison.
Alabamians already face many barriers to abortion, including a 48-hour waiting period and mandated counseling. Half of the patients in Alabama and two other states served by Planned Parenthood Southeast travel over 100 miles to reach a clinic, said Staci Fox, who heads the group’s advocacy arm.
The American Civil Liberties Union has already signaled it will challenge the Alabama bill in court.