Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a controversial near-total abortion ban bill into law late Wednesday in an effort to challenge more than 40 years of precedent set by Roe v. Wade in 1973.
The Alabama state senate passed the bill 25-6 late Tuesday night. The new law is the most restrictive abortion law in the country, only allowing exceptions "to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child's mother," and if the unborn child has "a lethal anomaly." An amendment to re-introduce exemptions for rape and incest was introduced by Democrats, but it failed on an 11-21 vote.
The bill includes stiff penalties for those who violate the law. Doctors caught performing the procedure in Alabama could face up to 99 years in prison.
Gov. Ivey posted a photo of her signing the bill into law on Twitter Wednesday.
"Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act. To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious & that every life is a sacred gift from God," Ivey wrote.
In a statement, Gov. Ivey wrote that the sponsors of the bill believed it was time for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit the issue of abortion and the law was the best way for that to happen.
"No matter one’s personal view on abortion, we can all recognize that, at least for the short term, this bill may similarly be unenforceable. As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court even when we disagree with their decisions," Ivey wrote in the statement. "Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur."
Several pro-choice groups including the ACLU and Planned Parenthood say they plan on filing a lawsuit to challenge the "unconstitutional ban and protect every women's right to make her own choice about her healthcare, her body, and her future."
The bill will not take effect for another six months. Abortion is still legal at the three clinics left in Alabama.
Photo: Getty Images