Alabama lawmakers propose law that would punish abortion with upto 99 years in prison
Alabama lawmakers have put forward a proposal for a law that would make performing an abortion a punishable act. This means abortion will be considered a felony even in the case of rape or incest. The bill, which was introduced on Tuesday (April 2), would make performing an abortion a Class A felony, and attempting an abortion a Class C felony.
However, the law also states that women who seek an abortion or have to undergo abortions due to health risk will be exempted from any charges.
But any doctor who agrees to perform an abortion can be hit with a prison sentence of up to 99 years. The bill also compares the act of abortion to some of the most gruesome events such as the Holocaust or genocide by adding that more than 50 million babies have been aborted since 1973.
Adding that this number is "three times the number who were killed in German death camps, Chinese purges, Stalin’s gulags, Cambodian killing fields, and the Rwandan genocide combined," as reported by The Cut.
65 Alabama legislators out of the 105-member House of Representatives signed on as co-sponsors.
Randall Marshall, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama stated that the bill is a plan to overturn Roe v. Wade. “These lawsuits are a part of a plan to overturn Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court,” he said in a statement.
“They know they will not win in federal, district, or appeals courts because these bills are flagrantly unconstitutional. However, if a state loses in lower courts, appeals to the Supreme Court and is denied review, then they will owe potentially hundreds of thousands of taxpayer money in attorney fees. None of these states including Alabama can afford to throw money away like that.”
Roe v. Wade was a landmark decision which was issued by the Supreme Court in 1973 that legalized abortion in the US. Bill sponsor Terri Collins hoped that the bill would help overturn that law. "It simply criminalizes abortion. Hopefully, it takes it all the way to the Supreme Court to overturn (Roe versus Wade.)," she said, as reported by Daily Mail.
Staci Fox, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast stated that this law was a "death sentence for women across this state."
She added, "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."
Hollywood actors too have come forward to protest this bill. Actors like Alyssa Milano, Alec Baldwin and Amy Schumer voiced their anger by threatening to pull movie business out Georgia in a bid to stop the bill from being passed.
Meanwhile, Vicki Ringer, director of Public Affairs Planned Parenthood South Atlantic stated that the Republicans are trying to have a fight that would be futile.
"Here's the problem: This bill is unconstitutional," he said. "You believe that (Justice Neil) Gorsuch and (Justice Brett) Kavanaugh will save you on the Supreme Court. That court has already blocked an abortion bill. The whole point is to get the courts to relook at this issue," she said.
"I think people are seeing a possibility that the Supreme Court might have a more conservative-leaning balance."