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Senate sends nation’s strictest abortion ban to governor’s desk

Brandon Moseley

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After a lengthy debate, the Alabama Senate passed the strictest abortion ban in the country.

House Bill 314 was sponsored by State Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur.

It was carried in the Senate by state Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville.

HB314 is the strictest abortion ban in the country. It would make performing or attempting to perform an abortion a Class A felony. While a woman who elects to have an abortion would be held blameless, the doctor who performs an abortion could potentially spend 99 years imprisoned in the Alabama Corrections System.

The bill includes a section with language calling the killing of 50 million pre-born American babies a “crime against humanity” and compares it to the Holocaust in World War II, the Rwanda genocide, and Stalin’s execution and starvation of millions of political prisoners in the 1930s and 1940s.

“Roe v. Wade has ended the lives of millions of children. While we cannot undo the damage that decades of legal precedence under Roe has caused, this bill has the opportunity to save the lives of millions of unborn children,” Chambliss said. “Life and liberty are not man given; they are given by our Creator. Today, Alabama made clear that we will protect our rights and the rights of our unborn children.”

“This is blatantly unconstitutional,” state Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro said. “Don’t take away that choice on what to do with their bodies.”

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“What I don’t understand is when these babies get here, you don’t want to do anything to take care of them,” Singleton said. “Y’all don’t care about babies for real. If you really cared about babies for real, let’s talk about rural healthcare.”

The bill has one and only one exception and that is for protecting the life of a mother.

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee added a controversial amendment to the bill that would have created an exception for rape or incest. The full Senate removed that amendment on Thursday and voted down another attempt Tuesday to add the exceptions back to the bill.

Singleton said that the rapist would only serve ten years, but the doctor who aborted the rapist’s child would spend 99 years in the Alabama prison.

“I am running for the Chair of the Alabama Democratic Party,” said State Senator Vivian Figures, D-Mobile. “I am going to do everything I can do to elect Democrats to office.”

“This is just a bad bill that is going out here,” Singleton said. “A bill like this will have a profound effect on recruiting business to the state of Alabama.”

Despite the efforts to filibuster by the six Senate Democrats, the bill passed 25 to 6.

The ACLU condemned passage of the bill and vowed to fight it in federal court.

The ACLU said in a statement, “Today’s decision from the Alabama Senate to pass an abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest shows how little they regard bodily autonomy. This bill punishes victims of rape and incest by further taking away control over their own bodies and forcing them to give birth. While lawmakers could have spent time finding solutions to keep open rural hospitals, increase pay for teachers, and address the critical issues facing Alabama’s prison system, they decided to gamble with taxpayer dollars. The ACLU of Alabama, along with the National ACLU and Planned Parenthood, will file a lawsuit to stop this unconstitutional ban and protect every woman’s right to make her own choice about her healthcare, her body, and her future. This bill will not take effect anytime in the near future, and abortion will remain a safe, legal medical procedure at all clinics in Alabama.”

“Today is a dark day for women in Alabama and across this country,” Planned Parenthood President and CEO Staci Fox said in a statement. “Banning abortion is bad enough. But these added threats to doctors and victims of rape and incest goes beyond the brink. Alabama politicians will forever live in infamy for this vote and we will make sure that every woman knows who to hold accountable.

In November, the voters approved a constitutional amendment, which would outlaw abortion immediately upon the overturning of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing a right to an abortion.

“In November, the voters of Alabama overwhelmingly approved Amendment Two to declare Alabama a pro-life state, and the State Legislature is now carrying out the express will of the people, which is to protect the sanctity of life,” Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed, R-Jasper. “HB314 simply recognizes that an unborn baby is a child who deserves protection — and despite the best efforts of abortion proponents, this bill will become law because Alabamians stand firmly on the side of life.”

The sponsors want a fight in federal court. Unlike the 2018 constitutional amendment, there is no triggering event for HB314. It goes into effect and bans abortion, in open defiance of the Roe v. Wade decision.

“In 1973, unelected judges on the Supreme Court cut short the vigorous national debate over abortion, and imposed a top-down, abortion-on-demand agenda on the entire country,” Chambliss said. “Advances in science since 1973, particularly in ultrasound technology, shows what we know intuitively – a baby in the womb is a person.”

“This bill is about challenging Roe v. Wade and protecting the lives of the unborn, because an unborn baby is a person who deserves love and protection,” Collins said.

The bill has already passed the House. Since it passed without amendment, it now goes to the governor’s office for her consideration. If signed, the abortion ban will not go into effect for six months.

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