Republican Alabama Representative Terri Collins on Tuesday proposed legislation that would make performing abortions at any point during a woman’s pregnancy, including in cases of rape and incest, a felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison.
The strict abortion ban, which has been branded a “death sentence for women”, would only allow abortions in instances where there is “a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother”.
The bill likens legalized abortion to the Nazi campaign of extermination that led to the mass murders of Jews and others during the Holocaust.
The legislation says: “More than 50 million babies have been aborted in the United States since the Roe decision in 1973, more than three times the number who were killed in German death camps, Chinese purges, Stalin’s gulags, Cambodian killing fields, and the Rwandan genocide combined.”
The bill, which has more than 60 co-sponsors in the 105-member Alabama house of representatives, would charge doctors who perform unauthorized abortions with a Class A felony.
It would ban all abortions, even those using prescription drugs, as soon as a woman is “known to be pregnant”.
“It simply criminalizes abortion,” Terri Collins, a Republican representative who is the bill’s sponsor. “Hopefully, it takes it all the way to the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade.”
Asked why lawmakers were pushing a bill that obviously conflicts with Supreme Court decisions, Collins said the “whole point is to get the courts to relook at this issue”.
“I think people are seeing a possibility that the Supreme Court might have a more conservative-leaning balance,” she said.
Staci Fox, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, called the bill a “death sentence for women across this state”.
“These bans are blatantly unconstitutional and lawmakers know it – they just don’t care. Alabamians are just pawns in this political game to challenge access to safe, legal abortion nationally,” she said.
The Independent adds:
The Alabama bill comes after Kentucky and Mississippi approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which happens as soon as the sixth week of pregnancy. At six weeks, many women do not yet know they are pregnant.
Other states, including Georgia and South Carolina, could pass similar bans.
Georgia’s governor is contemplating whether to sign a law banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. More than 50 Hollywood actors, including Alyssa Milano, Alec Baldwin and Amy Schumer, sent a letter threatening to pull business out of Georgia, a focal point for TV and film production if the ban is enacted.