Alabama Governor Signs Abortion Bill. Here’s What Comes Next

May 16, 2019, 4:13 a.m.

Country: USA

Written in: English; English

Copyright: Copyright 2019 The New York Times Company
public office: en:Governor
disease: en:Pregnancy
politician: en:Legislator
policy, legislation: en:Bill (law)
academic discipline: en:Law
ethnic group: en:United States

The Alabama governor signed the bill into law Wednesday afternoon. But the last word will probably come from the federal courts.

U.S. |Alabama Governor Signs Abortion Bill. Here’s What Comes Next Advertisement Alabama Governor Signs Abortion Bill. Here’s What Comes Next Image Demonstrators rallied on Tuesday outside the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Ala., to protest a proposed near-total ban on abortion in the state. Lawmakers approved the ban Tuesday night.CreditCreditMickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser, via Associated Press By Alan Blinder May 15, 2019 Alabama’s governor on Wednesday signed into law a measure to ban most abortions in the state. But the Legislature’s approval and the governor’s signature did not immediately outlaw the procedure, and it is far from clear when, or even if, the measure will ultimately take effect. Here’s a guide to what happened, and what is likely to happen next. What did Alabama do? The bill that the Republican-controlled Legislature overwhelmingly passed sought to prohibit abortions at every stage of pregnancy. It includes an exception for cases where a woman’s health is at “serious” risk, but lawmakers rejected a proposal to add exceptions for cases of rape or incest. Women who have abortions will not be prosecuted under the measure, but, if the courts allow the law to stand, doctors could be charged with a felony and face up to 99 years in prison for performing the procedure. [ Several states have moved to curtail abortion but Alabama’s measure goes farther .] The bill was signed, and a countdown begins. A Senate vote on Tuesday night moved the proposal to Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, who signed the legislation on Wednesday afternoon. “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,” Ms. Ivey said in a statement. But abortion services will still be available in Alabama for the time being. At the earliest, the measure will take effect in six months. Now bet on a race to the courthouse. Supporters of abortion rights have promised to challenge the measure in court. The expected legal battle could stop the restrictions entirely, or at least substantially delay them. “Alabama politicians will forever live in infamy for this vote, and we will make sure that every woman knows who to hold accountable,” said Staci Fox, the president of Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates. “In the coming days, we will be mounting the fight of our lives — we will take this to court and ensure abortion remains safe and legal.” [ The Democratic presidential candidates vowed to challenge the Alabama law, calling it an outrageous and unconstitutional attack on women .] The measure’s architects are not just expecting a pitched debate in the courts; they are inviting one. The entire purpose of the law, they have said, is to persuade the United States Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 46-year-old ruling that recognized a constitutional right for a woman to end a pregnancy. “This bill is about challenging Roe v. Wade and protecting the lives of the unborn, because an unborn baby is a person who deserves love and protection,” said Representative Terri Collins, a Republican who sponsored the legislation. But on Wednesday, the governor acknowledged that “at least for the short term,” Alabama’s law might be “unenforceable.” It could take years for any court challenges to be resolved.

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