After rejecting an attempt to add an exception for rape or incest, Alabama's Senate passed the nation's strictest abortion law Tuesday. The bill, which passed by a vote of 25-6, makes performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison, the Guardian reports. Four Republican senators joined Democrats in voting in favor of the rape or incest exception, which was defeated 21-11. The only exception that remained in the bill is for women whose health is at serious risk. The bill—which punishes doctors, not women seeking abortions—will now head to the desk of Gov. Kay Ivey, whose office says she won't make a decision until she sees the final version of the legislation, reports AL.com.
"You don't care anything about babies having babies in this state, being raped and incest," Democratic Sen. Bobby Singleton said after the amendment was voted down. The lopsided vote on the bill suggests lawmakers could easily override a veto from the governor, the AP notes. The bill's supporters say they hope to spark a court case that will lead to the Supreme Court revisiting the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. "While we cannot undo the damage that decades of legal precedence under Roe have caused, this bill has the opportunity to save the lives of millions of unborn children," GOP Sen. Clyde Chambliss said in a statement. Staci Fox of Planned Parenthood Southeast said the bill's passage marked "a dark day for women in Alabama and across this country." (Last week, Georgia became the fourth state this year to pass a "heartbeat" bill.)