Alabama governor signs near-total abortion ban

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey just signed the state’s controversial near-total abortion ban. The new law is the most restrictive anti-abortion measure passed in the United States since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.

The legislation — House Bill 314, “Human Life Protection Act” — bans all abortions in the state except when “abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk” to the woman, according to the bill’s text. It criminalizes the procedure, reclassifying abortion as a Class A felony, punishable by up to 99 years in prison for doctors. Attempted abortions will be reclassified as a Class C penalty.

The legislation makes no exceptions for victims or rape or incest.

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“Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act,” Ivey wrote in a statement Wednesday evening. “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious & that every life is a sacred gift from God.” 

Alabama’s ban is the latest in an onslaught of state-level anti-abortion measures that activists hope will be taken up by the Supreme Court and potentially overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that protects a woman’s right to the procedure. 

Last week, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed into law the state’s so-called “fetal heartbeat” bill, a measure that will prohibit abortions after a heartbeat is detected in an embryo, which is typically five to six weeks into a pregnancy, and before most women know that they’re pregnant. The state was the sixth to pass such a law, and the fourth this year alone.

Abortion rights advocates have promised to challenge Alabama’s controversial legislation if Ivey signs the bill into law.
“We will not stand by while politicians endanger the lives of women and doctors for political gain,” wrote Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project, in an email to CBS News following the vote. “Know this, Governor Ivey: If you sign this dangerous bill into law, we will see you in Court”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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