A bill to virtually make abortion illegal and challenge a U.S. Supreme Court ruling is making its way through the Alabama Senate after being passed by the Alabama House of Representatives Tuesday.
“It was read on the Senate floor (Thursday) morning,” District 30 Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville) said. “I requested it be in the judiciary committee Wednesday and beyond that is uncertain.”
Chambliss represents portions of Autauga, Chilton, Coosa, Elmore and Tallapoosa counties. He said at the Wetumpka National Day of Prayer service Thursday morning the bill is a direct challenge to the 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
“This is a very important piece of legislation,” Chambliss told the crowd gathered at the Wetumpka Civic Center. “Our Alabama House of Representatives has passed a bill that would directly challenge Roe v. Wade. It is a direct plan to challenge Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court. I would like for you all to pray for that.”
The House passed a bill making it a Class A felony for a doctor to perform an abortion and a Class C felony for attempting to perform an abortion unless there is a serious health risk to the mother. The bill does not include any exceptions for rape or incest.
The bill was debated on the House floor Tuesday for two hours before passing 74 to 3.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health in 2017 there were 6,768 reported induced terminations of pregnancy of residents of Alabama and 219 of those mothers were under 18 years old. The ADPH said not all states provide information about abortions including some bordering Alabama.
The American Civil Liberties Union said this is the latest in a string of anti-abortion bills that have been introduced across the South, with bills passing in Kentucky, North Carolina, Mississippi and Georgia. The ACLU immediately filed suits and has blocked these bans in Kentucky and Mississippi. The ACLU of Alabama is prepared to sue if the Alabama Legislature passes this ban.
“These lawsuits are a part of a plan to overturn Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court. They know they will not win in federal, district or appeals courts because these bills are flagrantly unconstitutional,” said Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama. “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.”
In 2016 the state paid ACLU of Alabama and Planned Parenthood $1.7 million after a law requiring abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges was ruled unconstitutional.
“Legislators in Alabama have wasted millions of dollars on trying to get involved in a woman’s personal healthcare decisions. They stand to lose millions more if they pass this patently unconstitutional attempt to ban abortion,” ACLU of Alabama policy analystDillon Nettles said in a release..
Chambliss believes the bill will pass the Senate despite national attention and opposition.
“I think it will be fairly widely supported and likely pass,” Chambliss said. “I do expect some opposition.”