Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, who signed the abortion bill, has a long history of pushing conservative agenda
Alabama's Republican Governor Kay Ivey recently signed into law a bill that bans doctors from conducting abortions at any stage of pregnancy. Violators are liable to be sentenced to up to 99 years in prison.
The legislation was passed by the state Senate on Tuesday and has been described as the most restrictive abortion legislation in the country.
While court challenges against the legislation are imminent, especially from anti-abortion groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood, sponsors of the bill are hoping it would prompt the Supreme Court to re-evaluate the controversial Roe v. Wade decision.
Meanwhile, Ivey has acknowledged that the bill may be unenforceable “at least for the short term.”
“The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur,” Ivey said.
Nonetheless, Ivey has had a long and contentious past when it comes to legislation.
Ivey was Alabama’s lieutenant governor in August 2015 when she and Rep. Terri Collins — who sponsored the latest anti-abortion bill — called for the “immediate defunding of Planned Parenthood by Congress.”
The duo also pushed for the passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which sought to make most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy illegal.
Following the resignation of Robert Bentley and Ivey's subsequent ascension to the gubernatorial throne in April 2017, the latter's pro-life stance has not changed one bit.
The Trump administration established certain regulations in January 2018 that allowed doctors to deny women abortions unless it was absolutely necessary.
Moreover, the new rules also forced states to cut Medicaid funding to organizations like Planned Parenthood.
At the time, Ivey upheld the president's decision saying it was “a big win for states to ensure that tax dollars are not used to fund abortion or abortion-related services.”
Last August, Ivey renewed her “steadfast commitment to protect the lives of the unborn” after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court's decision to discard a bill banning "dismember abortions."
Ivey also has the strong backing of multiple anti-abortion organizations. She won the endorsement of National Right to Life, Alabama Citizens for Life, and Susan B. Anthony List, during her campaign to be elected to a full term.
“As governor, I will always defend unborn life, starting at conception, and advocate for those who are unable to advocate for themselves,” Ivey said at the time.
However, Ivey's history of passing conservative legislation goes beyond "protecting the lives of the unborn".
In Alabama, she has signed laws over guns in schools, gay rights, death penalty, and Confederate monuments. These laws would have faced difficulties if the state had a more robust Democratic presence.
In May 2017, she signed a bill that cut down the time death-row inmates had to file appeals, according to Washington Post. The legislation was opposed by anti-death penalty groups and the American Bar Association.
In the days following the Parkland school massacre in February 2018, she signed an executive order allowing school staff who were properly vetted to carry firearms in the classroom.
According to the Associated Press, she also signed legislation that allowed faith-based adoption organizations to refuse to place children with gay parents. “This bill is not about discrimination, but instead protects the ability of religious agencies to place vulnerable children in a permanent home,” Ivey said in a statement at the time.
As the debate over Confederate monuments took over the US, Ivey signed legislation prohibiting the “relocation, removal, alteration, renaming or other disturbance of any architecturally significant building, memorial building, memorial street or monument located on public property which has been in place for 40 or more years,” according to the Washington Times.
Ivey drew ire from the left after she rooted for Roy Moore and Brett Kavanaugh when a series of sexual allegations were leveled against them in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
In November 2017, then-Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore faced allegations of sexual harassment and abuse. At the time, Ivey said she had “no reason to disbelieve” the women, and that “there’s never an excuse for or rationale for sexual misconduct or sexual abuse.”
Having said that, Ivey does have a number of feathers in her cap from her nearly 11-month tenure as Alabama's 54th governor. She is mostly touted for steering the state into strong economic waters.
Many fervent supporters have called her a trailblazer who restored Alabama's image with her dignified and unifying leadership. With her at the helm, the state saw record low unemployment, record exports of Alabama goods and services, and a fiscally responsible state budget.
Furthermore, she was able to garner more than $6 billion in new direct investments committed in the state that would directly create tens of thousands of jobs. One of her major achievements in this sphere was the opening of a Toyota-Mazda plant in Huntsville, which approximately furnished more than 4,000 jobs.
Ivey also enjoys the third-highest approval rating of governors across the nation after securing a number of firsts in her political history.
Growing up in small-town Camden, Alabama, Ivey went on to become the first female student government vice president at Auburn University. As years passed and her popularity grew, Ivey became the first Republican woman to hold the office of lieutenant governor, and eventually the Governor of Alabama.
The 74-year-old started out as a high school teacher and banker before becoming a firebrand for the inclusion of women in government. She began her career in public service after then-Governor Fob James recognized her work and appointed her to the state cabinet in 1979.