On Tuesday, the state of Alabama passed the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the country, banning it outright and even in cases of rape and incest. Like the recently-passed effective ban on abortion in Georgia—which bans abortion at six-weeks pregnant before most women even know they’re pregnant—Alabama’s law is explicitly designed to give the Supreme Court the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade. “The Supreme Court is not a body that makes a ruling forever,” Republican state senator Clyde Chambliss told Politico.
With Brett Kavanaugh cementing a conservative majority on the Court for the first time in decades, anti-abortion activists and politicians have a shot at outlawing abortion in the U.S., and Republican-led states look like they’re rushing to be the litigants who seal the deal. It’s not likely that Alabama’s ban will make it that far according to Randall Marshall, the head of the American Civil Liberties Union in Alabama, who told CNN, “There are already 14 cases nationwide in the pipeline, two of which are currently at the Supreme Court of the United States. The notion that somehow this is going to be the vehicle for the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade is really misplaced.”
Still, the impact of Alabama’s draconian ban, which was initially drafted by the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition, would be massive. The law punishes any doctor who performs an abortion with up to 99 years in prison, which is the same penalty the state has for rapists. And while even some of the most restrictive bans in other states make exceptions for abortions in the case of incest or rape, the Alabama senate voted down amendments that would allow those exemptions. According to a study in the American Journal for Preventative Medicine, 3 million American women experience rape-related pregnancy in their lifetimes.
While the Alabama ban that passed Tuesday doesn’t criminally penalize women who get abortions, unlike the bill passed in Georgia, and makes exceptions for when the fetus is already dead or if the mother’s life is in peril, the state of Alabama has been using other laws to punish pregnant women for years now. In 2015, ProPublica and AL.com reported on multiple cases of prosecutors aggressively using drug laws to charge even women who delivered their babies without incident. Writer Jessica Valenti published a long list of similar prosecutions across the country in Medium, a very small sample of which reads:
Despite how effectively Republicans have made abortion a wedge issue, these bans and prosecutions are wildly unpopular. According to the progressive think tank Data for Progress, there is no state in the country where even 25 percent of people support banning abortion outright.
But this hasn’t slowed down the momentum in Alabama or elsewhere. And anti-abortion activists are starting to drop the facade that their crusade has anything to do with the well-being of children. Chambliss, the Alabama Republican who said this law is meant to be a vehicle to topple abortion rights, admitted that the explicit purpose of the law was to target women. When a Democratic colleague pressed him on how this ban might affect in vitro fertilization, Chambliss dismissed it by saying the wording of the law referred only to pregnant women, adding, “The egg in the lab doesn’t apply. It’s not in a woman. She’s not pregnant.” Alabama Republicans don’t appear to see any need to get involved with people’s medical decisions when there’s no longer a woman they can police.
Source : Luke Darby Link