Alabama Abortion Bill Hits Friction Over Rape Exception

Democrats want a roll call vote to make opponents of exception go on record
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2019 9:50 AM CDT

Even among a slew of near-total abortion bans passed by states this year, Alabama's proposed law stands out. It would be the strictest in the nation by classifying abortion as a Class A felony, meaning a performing doctor would face up to 99 years in prison if convicted, reports the Washington Post. The measure also currently contains no exemption for cases of rape and incest following a chaotic Senate hearing Thursday. NPR reports a shouting match erupted as Republicans used a quick voice vote to remove the exemption added to the bill by a Senate committee. Democrats, however, had demanded a roll call vote that would reveal each Republican's position. "I want the people of the state of Alabama to know how we vote," Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton said, per the Post. "The people have a right."

The Senate's Republican president pro tempore, Del Marsh, eventually delayed further action on the abortion bill and asked lawmakers to go home for the weekend and think things over. It's possible the amendment on rape and incest could be re-introduced next week, reports Proponents see the bill as a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, and Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth said it's imperative to move now since "President Donald Trump has supercharged the effort to remake the federal court system by appointing conservative jurists who will strictly interpret the Constitution." The bill includes an exemption for a mother's health. The ACLU of Alabama has vowed to sue if it passes, meaning the measure might not be immediately implemented. (Read more abortion stories.)

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