By Emily Wax-Thibodeaux | Washington Post
The Alabama Senate on Thursday voted to table a controversial bill to criminalize abortions by making performing the procedure a felony punishable by up to 99 years imprisonment.
The bill, which appeared to pass by a vote of 23-6, was then tabled. Democrats shouted demands for a roll-call vote.
The vote was then tabled until next week. The bill would be the most restrictive in the country and would impose what is in effect a near-total abortion ban.
Alabama is among more than two dozen states which have sought to impose new restrictions on abortion this year. Georgia on Tuesday became the sixth state to impose a ban on abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy.
Alabama Rep. Terri Collins, who sponsored the bill, said its purpose is to spark litigation that would force the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that guarantees a woman’s right to abortion.
Under the Alabama legislation, doctors will not be able to perform abortions once a fetus is “in utero.”
The version that passed in the statehouse only allowed for a single exception – in cases involving a serious health risk “to the unborn child’s mother.” An amendment added in the Senate would also provide for exceptions in the case of rape or incest.That amendment was the subject of fierce debate on Thursday.
Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican who has described herself as “pro-life,” was expected to sign the bill into law as soon as this week, although she has declined to comment directly on the legislation until it was finalized.
Alabama tables contentious abortion vote after outcry