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Alabama Governor Signs Bill Designed to Overturn Roe v. Wade, Enable State-Level Abortion Restrictions

unborn abortion baby child fetal heartbeat Roe Wade Alabama abortionThe governor of Alabama has signed a bill designed to lead to a new Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that hamstrung states’ ability to restrict abortion.

The bill passed the state Senate on May 14 and was signed into law one day later by Republican Gov. Kay Ivey. It outlaws all abortions except in cases when the pregnancy puts the prospective mother’s life is at risk. While it doesn’t penalize a woman for undergoing an abortion, it makes it a felony to perform it, imposing penalties of 10 to 99 years in prison.

Alabama Democrats, and even some Republicans, criticized the bill for being too strict. But state Rep. Terri Collins, the Republican who introduced the bill, suggested it was intentionally uncompromising so as to increase the chance that it would result in a challenge to Roe v. Wade.

Collins and others are banking on pro-abortion entities to challenge the law in courts until the case is eventually picked up by the Supreme Court, where the law’s legal reasoning could strike at the core legal argument behind Roe v. Wade.

Roe v. Wade

The landmark 1973 decision established that it is part of a woman’s “right to privacy” to undergo abortion (pdf).

It ruled that states can’t regulate abortion in the first trimester, when the decision “must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman’s attending physician.”

After the first trimester, states can only “regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.”

States can only ban abortion after “viability,” meaning “potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid.” Even there, however, abortion must be allowed “where necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.”

Lower courts have subsequently ruled that even a risk to the mental health of the woman provides sufficient grounds for aborting a viable baby.

Roe’s Story

The Roe v. Wade decision was based on the case of Norma McCorvey, a 21-year-old drug addict living on the streets when she fell pregnant in 1969 with her third child. McCorvey had already given up one child for adoption.

At the time, McCorvey said she had been raped and was thus eligible for a legal abortion in Texas, but her request was refused because she couldn’t provide a police report proving that she had reported the rape. She was approached by Linda Coffee, a lawyer who wanted to challenge abortion restrictions and was looking for a pregnant woman she could introduce as the plaintiff for her case. McCorvey became that woman, entering the lawsuit anonymously as “Jane Roe.”

Together with another lawyer, Sarah Weddington, who ultimately argued the case before the Supreme Court, Coffee got the 7–2 decision saying that a woman has a right to abortion “free of interference by the state.”

Decades later, McCorvey admitted that she made up the rape story. She said that at the time, she didn’t want to go through the pain of giving up another baby for adoption, so she opted for abortion instead. But because the case took years to resolve, she ended up having the baby and putting it up for adoption. In her 2005 congressional testimony (pdf), she said, “I am glad today that that child is alive and that I did not elect to abort.”

McCorvey said that after spending years working at abortion clinics, she realized that abortion is wrong, not only because it kills the unborn, but because it traumatizes the women who undergo it.

“Participating in the murder of your own child will eat away at your conscience forever if you do not take steps to cleanse your conscience,” she said.

Nearly 56 million babies were aborted between 1973 and 2014, estimated from the yearly average based on data collected by the Guttmacher Institute.

McCorvey said she felt partially responsible by letting her story be used in the lawsuit.

Personhood

The Alabama law takes aim at the core issue of whether an unborn child can be considered a person, as discussed in Roe v. Wade. In the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision, the justices acknowledged that “if this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’s right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [Fourteenth] Amendment.”

The court sided against Texas in this argument, stating that neither the Constitution, nor Texas’s own statutes, suggested that an unborn child should be treated as a “person.”

The Alabama law (pdf) defines a “person” as “a human being, specifically including an unborn child in utero at any stage of development, regardless of viability.”

The law appears designed to make the argument that, this time, the state is serious about treating the unborn as human beings who should be granted legal protection.

The lawmakers even rejected an amendment that would allow abortion in instances of rape and incest, in what seems to be an attempt not to undermine the personhood reasoning.

“I’ve answered many emails from people who have poured out their hearts with real stories,” Collins told AL.com. “My goal with this bill is not to hurt them in any way. My goal with this bill, and I think all of our goals, is to have Roe v. Wade turned over, and that decision be sent back to the states so that we can come up with our laws that address and include amendments and things that address those issues.”

Governors in Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio have already signed into law bills that prohibit abortion later than about six weeks into pregnancy. Other Republican-led states have similar bills on the way. The Alabama one, however, appears to be the strictest.

The American Civil Liberties Union has pledged to challenge the Alabama law in court.

Supreme Court

The current wave of anti-abortion legislation came after Trump appointed Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in 2018, tilting the bench to five conservative-leaning justices versus four liberal-leaning ones. Trump already appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch in 2017.

It’s not clear whether the conservative-leaning justices will be persuaded to reconsider Roe v. Wade. If they strike it down, it’s not clear how they’d choose to redraw the lines on abortion restrictions.

Several states with Democrat-controlled legislatures have proceeded to preemptively relax their abortion restrictions. New York has passed a law allowing abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy for any reason. A similar bill was introduced in Virginia. A child born at 24 weeks already has more than a 50 percent chance of surviving if provided hospital care, a 2015 study found.

Deregulating abortion appears to clash with the beliefs of most Americans. The number of voluntarily reported abortions has been decreasing for years. And while about 1 in 9 abortions happens in the second trimester or later, according to the Guttmacher Institute, only 28 percent of Americans think abortion should generally be legal at that stage, according to Gallup.

If anything, Americans appear to have shifted away from supporting abortion. A Feb. 12–17 Marist Poll found that 47 percent of Americans identified as “pro-life,” meaning generally anti-abortion, while 47 percent identified as “pro-choice,” meaning generally pro-abortion. Just a month prior, the poll showed “pro-choice” identification prevailing 55 to 38 percent.

Reprinted with permission from - The Epoch Times - by Petr Svab

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BajaRon

Abortion is murder. There isn’t anyway around it. We condemn the Holocaust, yet we have exceeded that evil many times over as we continue to destroy the most innocent and helpless of all human beings.

Frank S.

Ahhh…the abortion issue strikes again. This is such a divisive issue, and people on both sides of the issue are so entrenched, it’s nearly impossible to have a sensible discussion where abortion is concerned. I am a strong pro-life advocate, and I believe science is on my side (I prefer to leave religion out of the debate). However, I’m not particularly found of either side playing with the law to make political points. I would rather have meaningful arguments and debates about what is really behind the abortion interests. The euphemisms certainly don’t help. Let’s be clear…the abortion industry makes tons of money for a lot of people. As always, we must follow the money, because that is where you will find truly reprehensible creatures. Then there are the feminist arguments…that women should have control of their bodies. What tripe! Women can have control of their bodies. It’s called birth… Read more »

Paul W

Excellent! Good for Governor Ivey!!!

Judith Cunningham

God Bless the Governor of Alabama and the Governor of Missouri and I pray that the Governors of every state will follow suit.

Donald Warner

Yeah these liberals have no problem killing an innocent baby but get all kinds of upset when we want to execute a convict.

Carol

I’m glad to see these legislation efforts because we need to have a discussion of what “personhood” means to our country. There are some who cannot see the unborn as human let alone a person which is sad to me. There are others who think personhood doesn’t apply to babies! And overturning Roe V Wade won’t make abortion illegal but push it back to the states where this kind of issue lies! Some states will make it legal and others won’t…that’s called government of the people! I was pro-choice as a young person, indoctrinated by government schools, but have come a long way to being pro-life since every life is sacred to me! The pro-abortion crowd scream that ‘Its a woman’s right to choice” without ever considering the life of the child in that womb and how devastating the abortion procedure is at any stage! There are NO counselors helping… Read more »

Sharon

God bless you, Gov Kay Ivey and thank you!!!

Emmett

It’s about time for conservatives to stand up and be counted.

T.T. Hunter

Where in the Constitution does it say ANYTHING about abortion—OR health care? Get the government out of all of these issues. Remember the idea of LESS GOVERNMENT?!?

Carlene Jenner

Thank you governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey. May many more states follow your lead.

Cheryl Brown

I commend you Governor Ivy. Cheryl B.

Rick J.

The Alabama law is just the first salvo in what is sure to be a long, protracted legal battle.

Cathy Witthoeft

Yippee-a State with guts & drive to do the right thing. Killing babies, murder is never the right thing in God’s eyes.

Cindy H

Science has disproven the argument that it is “my body” when in fact the fetus/baby has its own unique DNA.
Abortion is just plain wrong in every aspect and harmful to all involved.

Diana

A woman has the right to say No a right to keep her legs closed a right after rape a DNC plus the day after pill but to deliberate abortion is MURDER there are to many ways to protect yourself from getting pregnant there is No excuse for this garbage to be going on in a civilized society we are not stupid caveman so I am all for a complete stop of abortion, these so called doctors are Murders they take an oath First Do No Harm and they cause more deaths by doing this vile thing, it is very rare that a woman’s life is in danger, of course you have your drug addiction idiots they should have themselves sterilized, or a genetic reason also have yourself sterilized, but don’t commit Murder or become a NUN No reason at this time and age to have such a disgraceful behavior… Read more »

Press ONE for Engish

The Alabama law is good so far as it goes. Maybe it is the best we can do at this twisted time. Anyone performing an abortion should be charged with first degree murder. And anyone having the abortion done should be charged as an accessory, at the very least. And soliciting an abortion should be charged as attempted murder. Exceptions for rape, incest and the physical health of the mother are open for discussion. It is, after all, easy enough to avoid becoming pregnant. It’s not exactly rocket science and even the dimmest minds among us, our elected officials, can figure it out if they have a reason to. It’s high time we discard the passion for convoluted logic and obsessive parsing to figure out what the meaning of the word “is” is. Let’s keep it simple. If TWO people engage in behaviors that could reasonably be predicted to lead… Read more »

Greg Russell

Liberals have become fond of saying, that the matter of Roe-V-Wade is “settled law”, as if that makes it right, proper, and settled. If the evil of slavery still existed, those who champion that could easily say, slavery is settled law, but that wouldnt make it right, tolerable, or even mean that it shouldnt be done away with. Liberals live in a fantasy world. They are completely detached from reality, and they live on “emotion”, and never fact, reason, or data. Even if you don`t subscribe to the fact that an infant has a soul at the moment of conception, which he does, since the Lord stated very clearly that He knew the child before he was knit in his mothers womb, you still cannot reasonably deny that at the moment of conception, the “clump of cells” IS a human being. There is zero chance that clump of cells can… Read more »

Wayne D Peterkin

I support the bill. My take for years has been that if a woman does not want a baby then don’t get pregnant. There are a number of ways to prevent pregnancy one of which is completely safe, 100% effective, and free. That makes me Pro-life and Pro-choice! Choose not to get pregnant and you have my support! I get the fact that society today believes that sexual promiscuity is not only acceptable but encouraged. That we are free to do whatever feels good. But that does not justify the killing of the result of bad judgement and even though we may think we are entitled to immoral sexual behavior, we are not in the eyes of God. Any sexual activity outside of traditional marriage is a sin and killing the offspring of that sin compounds it. In the rare case of a pregnancy resulting from a criminal act, rape… Read more »

chaly

When you can actually be responsible personally for your own child’s murder you should pay with your own life! We don’t make the use of the death penalty often enough. If you deliberately kill someone you should give up your life, period! And as far as women ‘should have control of their own bodies’ argument learning how to keep your legs together is a start!

Keith H

Best news I’ve heard in years !!! To hell with the Baby Killers. I say “Save The Baby Abort The Whore”. Kill Roe V Wade and send it back to the states !!! Get the Commie loving Feds out of it altogether !!! Did you know that Roe, never had an abortion. She had all 3 of her kids. The worthless government used her to start the movement to kill babies. And I’m talking the Dumocrats of the day. Because we all know the commies on the left love killing babies !!!