SAN DIEGO — Alabama's Republican governor signed the most stringent abortion legislation in the nation Wednesday, making performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases.
The legislation Alabama senators passed would make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony punishable by 10 to 99 years or life in prison for the provider. The only exception would be when the woman's health is at serious risk. Women seeking or undergoing abortions wouldn't be punished.
The measure may be unenforceable in the short term. Even supporters have said they expect it to be blocked by lower courts as they fight toward the U.S. Supreme Court.
Pro-choice advocates said the passage of the legislation in Alabama, along with a series of other laws restricting abortion in a total of 15 other states, are part of a sweeping nationwide strategy to put Roe vs Wade before the U.S. Supreme Court in a move to get it overturned.
Cita Walsh with Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest said that even if Roe vs Wade is overturned, it will not keep women from seeking unsafe abortions.
“This is a throwback to 50 years ago that makes no sense whatsoever. This will have tragic outcomes,” she said.
In California, however, a woman’s right choose is protected in the state constitution.
“We have the ability to have safe and legal abortions here [in California] even if Roe vs Wade is overturned back to the states,” said Walsh.
However, Walsh does warn that if the federal law were to be overturned, the effects would be felt in California as well because “California and other states that are very supportive of women’s rights will have to carry the load of those other states that are banning abortions at various degrees.”
Walsh said Planned Parenthood will put up a fight.
“We will double down to make sure that we stand up for reproductive rights of women,” said Walsh.
Abortion rights advocates vowed swift legal action.
Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia recently have approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy. The Alabama bill goes further by seeking to ban abortion outright.
Already, four cases have already appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court – two in Indiana, one in Alabama and another in Louisiana.