When Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed the state’s new Human Life Protection Act, she implied that the goal of the bill is to set up a challenge to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide.
She said: “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.”
She also said that in “the short term,” the bill “may be unenforceable.” She was referring to the expected challenges to the law, likely followed by a protracted legal battle. She said: “The sponsors of this bill believe it is time, once again for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter.”
The law makes it a felony for doctors to perform an abortion at any stage of pregnancy, including in cases of rape and incest. The only exception allowed is to prevent serious risk to the health of the mother.
The Missouri House just passed an 8-week ban. Other states have recently enacted strong restrictions on abortion, including 4 states — Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Mississippi — banning abortion after the baby’s heartbeat is detected. But Alabama’s law is the strictest.
The pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List points to other legislation that could more quickly tear down Roe. At the top of SBA’s list are the Pain-Capable bills. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act has passed the US House three times, but never the Senate. Versions of this law have also been enacted in 21 states. These laws ban abortion after 20 weeks gestation with some doing so at 18 weeks. There’s evidence that the unborn child feels pain around this point in a pregnancy.
SBA is pleased states are passing all this pro-life legislation. Their position is that now’s the time to give the High Court as many opportunities as possible to overturn Roe.