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07th Apr 2019

‘Death sentence for women’ Alabama proposes law making abortion punishable by up to 99 years in prison

Jade Hayden

alabama abortion

“These bans are blatantly unconstitutional and lawmakers know it – they just don’t care.”

Alabama has proposed a law that would make performing or helping a person to get an abortion punishable by up to 99 years in prison.

The bill would make carrying out an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a Class A felony in the US state. It would not punish women who seek abortions or cases where abortions are carried out to prevent serious health risks or fatal foetal abnormality.

It would, however, make performing an abortion on a “healthy” foetus a crime. This includes cases of rape and incest.

CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, Staci Fox, has called the law a “death sentence for women.”

“These bans are blatantly unconstitutional and lawmakers know it – they just don’t care,” she said. “Alabamians are just pawns in this political game to challenge access to safe, legal abortion nationally.”

The text of the bill incorrectly equates abortion with multiple incidents of genocide including the Holocaust, the Cambodian killing fields, and the Rwandan genocide.

It reads:

“More than 50 million babies have been aborted in the United States since the Roe decision in 1973, more than three times the number who were killed in German death camps, Chinese purges, Stalin’s gulags, Cambodian killing fields, and the Rwandan genocide combined.”

The Alabama law aims to over Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal across all 50 states in 1973.

It was introduced to Alabama state Senate and House earlier this week and currently has over 60 co-sponsors in the 105-member house of representatives.

The ACLU have said they plan to sue if Alabama legislators pass the bill.

“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,” they said.

“The ACLU immediately filed suits and have blocked these bans in Kentucky and North Carolina. The ACLU of Alabama is prepared to sue if the Alabama legislature passes this ban.”

Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, called such bills “flagrantly unconstitutional” and added that Alabama cannot afford a high payout should the law be passed.

“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.”

Other states including Georgia and South Carolina are also considering similar criminalisation of abortion.

The likes of Kentucky and Mississippi have already approved the bans of terminations after a foetal heartbeat is present. This is usually detectable at approximately six weeks gestation, before many women even discover they are pregnant.