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Alabama lawmakers passes bill to abortion ban

Alabama lawmakers vote to ban nearly all abortions

Canada,15 May (UITV)- The state Senate accepted the law by 25 votes to six, refusing exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

It will now go to Republican Governor Kay Ivey. She has not cleared whether she will sign it or not, but she is considered to be a powerful adversary of abortion.

Activists expect it will oppose a landmark 1973 Supreme Court pronouncing the decriminalisation of abortion in the US.

The bill had been passed 74-3 earlier this month in Alabama's House of Representatives.

Abortion would only be permitted in definite situation to defend the mother's health.

The National Organization for Women called the prohibition as "unconstitutional" and said it was "a transparent effort to canvass political support for anti-abortion candidates in forthcoming elections".

Staci Fox of Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates called the decision "a dark day for women in Alabama and across this country".

In a statement she said Alabama politicians would "forever live in infamy for this vote and we will make sure that every woman knows who to hold responsible".

What do Alabama's politicians say about the new law?
Republican lawmaker Terri Collins, sponsor of the legislation, said: "Our bill says that baby in the womb is an alive person".

Democratic state Senator Bobby Singleton said the bill "criminalises doctors" and is an attempt by men "to tell women what to do with their bodies".

Republican Senator Clyde Chambliss, a backer of the law, said it would enable the state "to go directly to the Supreme Court to challenge Roe versus Wade", the 1973 ruling that established a woman's right to an abortion.

Before the debate began, Democrat Rodger Smitherman said: "We're telling a 12-year-old girl who, through incest and rape is pregnant, we are telling her that she doesn't have a choice."

How does the bill function?

It goes forward than legislation passed recently elsewhere in the US to ban abortion after a foetal heartbeat can be recognized, generally around six weeks into a pregnancy.

Under the Alabama measure, Conducting abortion at any stage in pregnancy would be a class A felony.

Doctors could face 10 years in prison for bidding to terminate a pregnancy and 99 years for actually carrying out the procedure.

A woman who has an abortion would not be held criminally liable.

The bill would let abortion only in cases where the mother's life is at serious risk.

Its text states more foetuses have been aborted than people killed in "Stalin's gulags, Cambodian killing fields".

Why is it happening now?

Supporters of the legislation have welcomed an unavoidable challenge in federal court if the measure becomes law. Pro-choice groups have sworn to take legal action against it.

The bill's architects hope it will be defeated in the lower courts, but also expect it to end up before the Supreme Court.

Their aim ultimately is to reverse Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that recognised a woman's constitutional right to end a pregnancy.

Encouraged by the addition of two Trump-nominated conservative justices, anti-abortion activists are curious to take one of the most isolating issues in America back to the highest court in the land.

Eric Johnston, founded the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition that helped draft the bill, told NPR: "The dynamic has changed.

"The judges have alternated, a lot of changes over that time, and so I think we're at the point where we need to take a bigger and a bolder step."

What's the national picture?

If signed into the law by Governor Ivey, the Alabama measure would become one of more than 300 laws challenging abortion access in the US.

Its transit comes amid a wave of anti-abortion measures in Republican-controlled state capitols around the nation.

Legislation to restrict abortion has been initiated in 16 of America's 50 states this year alone, in consonance to the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for more abortion access.

The flurry of measures has led these activists to warn that a swathe of US territory could become an "abortion desert."

At the other end of the political rainbow, a Democratic-sponsored bill in Virginia that would have allowed third-trimester abortions up until the point of childbirth failed to make it out of committee.