This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 14 °C Monday 19 August, 2019
Advertisement

Row breaks out in Alabama senate over 'foetal heartbeat' abortion law

If Alabama’s new laws are challenged, pro-life politicians are hoping it will eventually be brought before the Supreme Court.

THE SOUTHERN US state of Alabama is set to enact a law that would mean doctors could be jailed for carrying out abortions.

A motion was passed after opponents of the bill argued that the measure was being rushed through without holding a proper vote – though the new laws were expected to pass regardless.

The legislation is the latest part of restrictions being proposed by conservatives in a number of states to restrict abortion services.

Those backing the Alabama amendment say they hope it is challenged all the way to the Supreme Court, forcing a review of the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade ruling that deemed unduly restrictive state regulation of abortion as unconstitutional.

The measure, approved by the Alabama House of Representatives, sets prison terms of between 10 and 99 years for doctors who perform abortions.

The only exception would be instances where the mother at serious risk or where the child would not survive outside the womb because of some lethal condition. The laws do not allow for abortions in cases of rape and incest.

The measure needs approval by the state’s Republican-controlled senate before it can be signed into law by Republican Governor Kay Ivy.

Handmaid's Tale protest against abortion ban bill - Montgomery Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Deeply conservative and religious Alabama would then file an appeal to any successful legal challenge in the US Supreme Court, hoping the case sets a new precedent overturning legal abortion nationwide.

“This bill is simply about Roe v Wade,” said its author, Republican representative Terri Collins, during debates on the chamber floor.

“The decision that was made back in 1973 would not be the same decision that was decided upon today if you re-looked at the issue,” Collins said.

Conservatives are counting on support at the Supreme Court, where liberal justices are in a minority after the arrival of two conservative members appointed by President Donald Trump.

While the Alabama measure is seen as particularly draconian, at least 28 US states have introduced more than 300 measures since the start of the year limiting abortion rights, according to activists.

Kentucky and Mississippi are two states that have banned abortions as soon as a foetus’s heartbeat is detectable, or around the sixth week of pregnancy. Similar measures are being adopted in Georgia, Ohio, Missouri and Tennessee.

A judge has blocked the implementation of the Kentucky law, while the Mississippi law is set to come into effect in July.

© AFP 2019

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

AFP

Read next:

COMMENTS (50)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel