SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Alabama’s governor signed the most stringent abortion legislation in the nation Wednesday, making performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases.
The bill does the following:
– Bans abortion at every stage of pregnancy even in cases of rape and incest
– Doctors face 99 years in prison for performing abortion
– Doctors face 10 years in prison for attempting abortion
“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,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement.
Alabama joins four other states this year that passed bills limiting abortion and 11 other states that introduced similar legislation this year.
“I think it’s an exciting time to be pro-life,” said Utah Representative Cheryl Acton, (R) West Jordan.
Utah lawmakers also passed a law this year limiting legal abortion.
Representative Acton sponsored House Bill 136 which prohibits legal abortion after 18 weeks.
An abortion may be performed only if:
-It’s necessary to avert the death of the pregnant patient or prevent a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the patient on whom the abortion is performed
-Two physicians who practice maternal fetal medicine concur, in writing, in the patient’s medical record that the fetus has a defect that is uniformly diagnosable and uniformly lethal; or a defect that is uniformly diagnosable and uniformly lethal
-The fetus has a severe brain abnormality that is uniformly diagnosable
-The pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, and the physician verifies it has been reported to law enforcement
“Eighteen weeks is a very long period of time. It’s longer than an NFL football season,” said Rep. Acton.
“I don’t see women’s health through the vision of the NFL season. each story a women has for her decisions is her story. I’m glad Cheryl Acton knows what will happen in her life and knows how she will handle it. She can’t do that for every woman,” said Karrie Galloway.
Galloway is the CEO of Planned Parenthood Utah, which, along with the ACLU filed a joint lawsuit challenging Acton’s bill.
“When you’re challenging a constitutional right, it is our duty as a women’s healthcare, as a reproductive healthcare provider, to stand up for the needs of the women and their families. We had no choice but to contend,” Galloway explained.
“Of course I didn’t really want the lawsuit but if we’re going to have the lawsuit I would like it to in some way change the law so that the states could decide their own abortion laws as they could decide before 1973,” Acton explained.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes says he will not enforce Acton’s bill until it is resolved in the courts.
“Since we expect this case or one like it to be elevated to the United States Supreme Court, this injunction lets both the State and the Plaintiffs carefully and thoughtfully build factual records in support of their positions. In the process, we look forward to vigorously defending HB 136 and explaining why it constitutionally protects the most vulnerable among us. The passion and conviction this case creates on both sides of the matter is not surprising. The issues here are deeply personal and some of the most pressing our society faces. Besides presenting questions about the fundamental right of the unborn to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as well as the health and safety of the mother and her rights, the case raises important questions about governmental power and the proper role of courts. We, therefore, take the Plaintiff’s legal challenge extremely seriously. These questions are fundamental to who we are—and what we stand for as Americans.”
Roe vs. Wade went into effect in 1973.
Alabama lawmakers say their bill is specifically designed to go to the supreme court to challenge Roe vs. Wade.
“I do see it being overturned in the distant future. Hopefully very soon. But not in totality,” Acton replied when ABC4’s Brittany Johnson asked if she wanted to see the law of the land overturned.
Galloway says overturning the law would put more women at risk.
“The people will speak up at some point. I don’t know what will push them to speak up but the people will speak up. Unfortunately, in the process, people will die.”