The Alabama Senate has passed a bill, placing a ban on abortion, even in cases of rape and incest and could punish doctors who perform the procedure with life in prison.
The text was passed by the Republican-led Senate on Tuesday and has been sent to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk for signature into law and, if approved, is expected to trigger a legal battle which its supporters hope will reach the Supreme Court.
According to the bill, abortion becomes a crime that could land doctors who perform it in prison for 10 to 99 years. It only becomes legal if the life of the mother is in danger or the fetus has a fatal condition.
However, several reactions have trailed the bill since then.
The National Organization for Women called the bill “unconstitutional” and said its passage would “send women in the state back to the dark days of policymakers having control over their bodies, health, and lives.”
“This bill punishes victims of rape and incest by further taking away control over their own bodies and forcing them to give birth,” another group added.
The bill exempts women who undergo abortion, but punishes doctors who carry out the act.
Attempts to introduce an amendment providing exceptions for pregnancies conceived due to rape or incest were shut down by the state senate.
“You just raped the state of Alabama yourself,” state senate Democratic leader Bobby Singleton said after senators eliminated the amendment.
“You’re saying to my daughter you don’t matter in the state of Alabama… It’s ok for men to rape you and you’re gonna have his baby if you get pregnant,” he added, his voice sometimes breaking with emotion.
Several other states are following or have followed suit.
The governor of the US state of Georgia last week signed into law a ban on abortion from the moment a fetal heartbeat is detected, becoming the sixth US state to outlaw abortion after six weeks of gestation.
Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky, Iowa and North Dakota have enacted similar laws, while electoral powerhouses Florida and Texas are considering following suit.
All the state bans have either been blocked by a judge or are headed for the courts.