Gov. Kay Ivey signed the controversial Alabama Human Life Protection Act, which outlaws almost all situations to perform abortions in the state, a day after the Republican-controlled Senate voted to send her the bill without adding exceptions for victims of rape and incest despite pleas from their Democratic colleagues.
As a result of the new Act, doctors in the state could face up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion unless a woman’s health is at “serious” risk.
“To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God,” Gov.Ivey said in a statement.
Ivey added that the bill, which will take effect in six months, “closely resembled an abortion ban that has been a part of Alabama law for well over 100 years.”
A number of states across the country have adopted restrictive abortion measures, with the Alabama voting to effectively ban the procedure entirely unless the mother’s life is at stake.
Sixteen (16) states have passed or are currently considering abortion bans once a fetal heartbeat is detected about six weeks into pregnancy. Four (4) states have approved so-called heartbeat abortion laws.
Proponents of the measures have said they hope to trigger a legal battle that could eventually lead the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion.
At present, experts insist some prosecutors must push against the states’ actions on abortion by refusing to enforce them.