Alabama’s House of Representatives voted 74 to 3 on Tuesday to pass a bill that would make abortion a Class A felony, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 99 years. Attempted abortion would become a Class C felony, which holds a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. All Republicans voted in favour, except two who abstained. Nearly all Democratic House members chose not to vote, walking out of the House chamber in protest.
The bill’s stated objective is to challenge the Supreme Court’s decision that has allowed abortion in the United States since 1973: The measure would provide “a vehicle to revisit the constitutionally-flawed Roe v. Wade decision”, explains Terri Collins, the bill’s sponsor.
The two Democratic amendments, which were rejected, proposed to add an exception for rape and incest, and to fund the legal costs generated by this bill with the personal salaries of the members who voted in favour.
The law will now be move to the Senate, where Republicans also hold a majority.
Meanwhile, the US Supreme Court just upheld the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s 2017 decision regarding the time limits for medical abortion: Oklahoma was the last US state to ban the use of abortion pills beyond 49 days of pregnancy, whereas the latest FDA protocols recommend it up to 70 days. The Supreme Court ruled that this law encourages women to resort to surgical abortions, which would represent an “undue burden on women’s rights”.