‘Heartbeat’ abortion ban expected to pass with limited debate in Missouri Senate

Thursday, 16 May, 2019

The US state of Alabama has approved legislation to ban abortions in nearly all cases with jail terms of up to 99 years for anyone performing the procedure.

Governors and lawmakers across the country are rushing to pass highly restrictive abortion bills in hopes of attracting the attention of what they see as the most antiabortion U.S. Supreme Court in decades.

Alabama's abortion ban has stiff penalties for women getting the procedure but doctors performing abortions could be imprisoned for 99 years on felony charges.

While the bill faces further action in Legislature, its passage seems assured, and Gov. Janet Mills, a strong supporter of abortion rights, has indicated her support.

FILE - On April 17, 2019 file photo, Bianca Cameron-Schwiesow, from left, Kari Crowe and Margeaux Hardline, dressed as handmaids, take part in a protest against HB314, the abortion ban bill, at the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Ala.

How does Alabama's near-total abortion ban bill compare to Georgia's "fetal heartbeat" law? You ought to be ashamed. You don't have to do anything for that child, yet you want to make that decision for that woman, " Democratic Senator Vivian Davis Figures said. "And the bottom line is, that even if you are pro-choice, the right to privacy does not exist, either in the history or the text of the Constitution, which is why Roe has always been ripe to be overturned".

Alabama state lawmakers also compare abortions in the U.S.to the Holocaust and other modern genocides in the legislation, prompting Jewish activists and abortion rights groups to rebuke the legislation as "deeply offensive". As recently as last August, Ivey pledged her "steadfast commitment to protect the lives of the unborn", and went on to support Brett Kavanaugh in last year's Supreme Court nomination battle. "I think this is just a disgusting bill".

Condemning the bill, Democratic state Senator Rodger Smitherman said that by passing the measure, "we're telling a 12-year-old girl, who, through incest and rape is pregnant, we are telling her that she doesn't have a choice".

The bill would come into effect if a federal appeals court or the US Supreme Court allows its enforcement.

Supporters of the bills approved 22-16 by the Senate on a party-line vote Tuesday say it would restrict the use of a "barbaric" procedure except to save a woman's life. "We aimed for language that addresses the language of Roe v. Wade". Randall Marshall, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, said a complaint is being drafted.

HB 314, as written and passed, is meant to set up a U.S. Supreme Court battle to overturn Roe v. Wade, the controversial 1973 ruling that effectively legalized abortion in all 50 states by declaring unconstitutional state laws restricting the procedures.

The Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 made it legal to have an abortion nationwide by prohibiting states from banning abortions prior to when the fetus is deemed "viable", that is, potentially able to live outside its mother's womb.

"Donald Trump said repeatedly he was going to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade", Toobin said.

If the governor does approve the legislation, rights organizations including the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood of Southeast, have vowed to challenge the bill in court.