Yesterday Alabama’s Republican-dominated state Senate passed House Bill 314 in a 25-6 vote. The extremely controversial HB 314 essentially criminalizes all forms of abortion except in cases where the mother’s health is in danger. The legislation makes performing an abortion a Class A felony. Attempting to perform an abortion is a Class C felony under HB 314.
The bill had passed Alabama’s House of Representatives earlier this month by a 74-3 margin. The bill is now heading to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk. Ivey has not indicated whether or not she will sign the bill, although Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth had previously called on the Senate to pass the bill without amendments.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Terri Collins, has stated that the purpose of HB 314 is nothing less than a direct challenge of Roe v. Wade. Rep. Collins elaborated as to the reasoning behind HB 314 last week:
“We aimed for language that addresses the language of Roe v. Wade,” the bill’s sponsor Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur) said at a public event last week. “The decision was based on someone in utero, someone pregnant so we don’t get into conception. We don’t get into birth control. We don’t get into the morning-after pill, but in utero, which is the language they used that when a woman is pregnant. This bill criminalizes abortion through the doctor. And not the woman, but the doctor.
“The reasoning is the same reasoning, Roe v. Wade was decided that the baby in the womb was not a person,” she continued. “So this bill bases its reasoning that the baby in the womb is a person. And we based it on the fact that in Alabama law, we currently consider the baby in the womb a person. If you were a drunk driver and you killed a pregnant woman, you have a double homicide on your hands. We voted as a state to be a pro-life state.”
State Senator Tom Whately had attempted last week to add an amendment to HB 314 that would allow exceptions in cases of rape and incest. The amendment was rejected by a 21-11 margin. State Senator Clyde Chambliss, the man who carried the bill in the Senate, had argued that adding these exceptions would dilute the legal challenge that the state was trying to bring against Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court.
Rep. Collins had said she would kill HB 314 if the amendment providing exceptions for rape and incest were added.
Alabama’s passing of HB 314 comes just one week after Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed that state’s controversial Heartbeat Bill into effect. Georgia’s law effectively banned abortions performed after six weeks of pregnancy, although exceptions were made for incest, rape, and the health of the mother.
Pro-abortion groups have vowed to challenge both laws in court, setting up the legal fight that Alabama’s Republicans were counting on.