Alabama governor signs near-total abortion ban into law

Posted: Updated:

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's Republican governor signed the most stringent abortion legislation in the nation Wednesday, making performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases.

"To the bill's many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians' deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God," Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement.

The bill's sponsors want to give conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court a chance to gut abortion rights nationwide, but Democrats and abortion rights advocates criticized the bill as a slap in the face to women voters.

"It just completely disregards women and the value of women and their voice. We have once again silenced women on a very personal issue," said Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison, a Birmingham Democrat.

Coleman-Madison said she hopes the measure awakens a "sleeping giant" of women voters in the state.

But Republican pollster Chris Kratzer noted that there is no congressional district and likely no legislative district with enough swing voters to put Republicans at serious risk in the state.

"The people who are outraged about this are not the people who are electing these guys, generally speaking, especially when we're talking about the primary," he said.

Further, Kratzer argued, there aren't enough potential swing voters and disenchanted Republicans to make the issue any kind of advantage for the lone Democrat elected to statewide office, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, who scored a surprise win in a 2017 special election.

Jones upset Republican Roy Moore in part on the strength of GOP-leaning college graduates abandoning the controversial Moore. But Kratzer said that was more about Moore's long history of flouting federal courts as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and accusations that Moore sexually harassed teens when he was in his 30s - not Moore's hardline stance on abortion.

The legislation Alabama senators passed Tuesday would make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony punishable by 10 to 99 years or life in prison for the provider. The only exception would be when the woman's health is at serious risk. Women seeking or undergoing abortions wouldn't be punished.

Rep. Terri Collins, the bill's sponsor, said she believes the measure reflects the beliefs of the majority of the state electorate.

"I've heard from lots of women in the state who are extremely pro-life, and they're very supportive," Collins said.

Ivey acknowledged Wednesday that the measure may be unenforceable in the short term. The law is set to go into effect six months after being signed, but supporters expect it to be blocked by lower courts as they fight toward the Supreme Court.

"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.

Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia recently have approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy. The Alabama bill goes further by seeking to ban abortion outright.

Abortion rights advocates vowed swift legal action.

"We vowed to fight this dangerous abortion ban every step of the way and we meant what we said. We haven't lost a case in Alabama yet and we don't plan to start now. We will see Governor Ivey in court," said Staci Fox, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast.

Evangelist Pat Robertson on his television show Wednesday said the Alabama law is "extreme" and opined it may not be the best one to bring to the U.S. Supreme Court "because I think this one will lose."

"God bless them they are trying to do something but I don't think that's the case that I'd want to bring to the Supreme Court," Robertson said.

One mile from the Alabama Statehouse - down the street from the Governor's Mansion - sits Montgomery's only abortion clinic, one of three performing abortions in the state. Because of its location, the clinic sees a stream of patients from Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle because other clinics have closed.

Clinic staff on Wednesday fielded calls from patients, and potential patients, wrongly worried that abortion was now illegal in the state. They were assured abortion remained legal in the state.

"It's been a lot of fear. A lot of people who are afraid they can't get their procedure," said Kari Crowe, a clinic employee and escort.

"Abortion is OK!" read a banner paid for by abortion rights advocates that a plane carried as it circled the Alabama Capitol and Statehouse on Wednesday.

  • Power & PoliticsMore>>

  • President Trump lifts sanctions on Turkey, says cease-fire permanent

    President Trump lifts sanctions on Turkey, says cease-fire permanent

    Wednesday, October 23 2019 5:16 PM EDT2019-10-23 21:16:40 GMT
    "We're getting out," Trump said at the White House, asserting that tens of thousands of Kurdish lives were saved as the result of his actions."We're getting out," Trump said at the White House, asserting that tens of thousands of Kurdish lives were saved as the result of his actions.
    "We're getting out," Trump said at the White House, asserting that tens of thousands of Kurdish lives were saved as the result of his actions."We're getting out," Trump said at the White House, asserting that tens of thousands of Kurdish lives were saved as the result of his actions.
    President Donald Trump said Wednesday he will lift sanctions on Turkey after the NATO ally agreed to permanently stop fighting Kurdish forces in Syria.
    President Donald Trump said Wednesday he will lift sanctions on Turkey after the NATO ally agreed to permanently stop fighting Kurdish forces in Syria.
  • Island Vote: Ex-Hempstead supervisor Kate Murray challenging for spot as town clerk

    Island Vote: Ex-Hempstead supervisor Kate Murray challenging for spot as town clerk

    Monday, October 21 2019 5:49 PM EDT2019-10-21 21:49:14 GMT
    In a twist from most political races, the challenger for Hempstead town clerk might have more name recognition than the incumbent.
    In a twist from most political races, the challenger for Hempstead town clerk might have more name recognition than the incumbent.
  • Island Vote: Challenger pushes ‘new perspective’ in Southold supervisor’s race

    Island Vote: Challenger pushes ‘new perspective’ in Southold supervisor’s race

    Friday, October 18 2019 5:43 PM EDT2019-10-18 21:43:45 GMT
    Greg Doroski, who says his ancestors go back hundreds of years in Southold, calls himself the candidate of change in the race for town supervisor.Greg Doroski, who says his ancestors go back hundreds of years in Southold, calls himself the candidate of change in the race for town supervisor.
    Greg Doroski, who says his ancestors go back hundreds of years in Southold, calls himself the candidate of change in the race for town supervisor.Greg Doroski, who says his ancestors go back hundreds of years in Southold, calls himself the candidate of change in the race for town supervisor.
    Greg Doroski, who says his ancestors go back hundreds of years in Southold, calls himself the candidate of change in the race for town supervisor.
    Greg Doroski, who says his ancestors go back hundreds of years in Southold, calls himself the candidate of change in the race for town supervisor.
  • SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>

  • Dog Day Fridays for Oct. 18

    Dog Day Fridays for Oct. 18

    Friday, October 18 2019 10:16 AM EDT2019-10-18 14:16:58 GMT
    Douglas is a 5-year-old, male, neutered Cattle dog mix rescued through the Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand from the streets of Thailand. These dogs are often rounded up and sold to the dog meat trade in China. He is good with dogs and older children.Douglas is a 5-year-old, male, neutered Cattle dog mix rescued through the Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand from the streets of Thailand. These dogs are often rounded up and sold to the dog meat trade in China. He is good with dogs and older children.
    Douglas is a 5-year-old, male, neutered Cattle dog mix rescued through the Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand from the streets of Thailand. These dogs are often rounded up and sold to the dog meat trade in China. He is good with dogs and older children.Douglas is a 5-year-old, male, neutered Cattle dog mix rescued through the Soi Dog Foundation in Thailand from the streets of Thailand. These dogs are often rounded up and sold to the dog meat trade in China. He is good with dogs and older children.
    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Almost Home Animal Rescue & Adoption. The shelter is located at 646 Medford Ave. in Patchogue. Their phone number is (631) 627-3665.
    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Almost Home Animal Rescue & Adoption. The shelter is located at 646 Medford Ave. in Patchogue. Their phone number is (631) 627-3665.
  • Your Oct. 16 storm photos

    Your Oct. 16 storm photos

    Storm photos Oct. 17Storm photos Oct. 17
    Storm photos Oct. 17Storm photos Oct. 17
    Heavy right and high winds swept through the tri-state area due to a large coast storm on the night of Oct. 16. Here are your photos from the storm.
    Heavy right and high winds swept through the tri-state area due to a large coast storm on the night of Oct. 16. Here are your photos from the storm.
  • Your Long Island Fall Fun Photos

    Your Long Island Fall Fun Photos

    Monday, October 7 2019 12:12 PM EDT2019-10-07 16:12:23 GMT
    Fall FunFall Fun
    Fall FunFall Fun
    Are you and your family doing fun things this fall? Whether you're out apple or pumpkin picking, at a farm or corn maze or just hanging around in your home or yard, News 12 Long Island wants to see your Fall Fun pics!
    Are you and your family doing fun things this fall? Whether you're out apple or pumpkin picking, at a farm or corn maze or just hanging around in your home or yard, News 12 Long Island wants to see your Fall Fun pics!
sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."