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story.lead_photo.caption In this Tuesday, April 30, 2019 file photo, Rep. Terri Collins answers questions during debate on the abortion ban bill at the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Ala. (Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP, File)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Alabama's Senate passed a near-total ban on abortion Tuesday, sending what would be the nation's most stringent abortion law to the state's Republican governor.

The Republican-dominated Senate voted 25-6 for the bill that would make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison. The only exception would be when the woman's health is at serious risk.

The measure now goes to Gov. Kay Ivey, who has not said whether she supports the measure.

Supporters said the bill is intentionally designed to conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationally, because they hope to spark a court case that might prompt the justices to revisit abortion rights.

"The question for me -- for us -- is: When is a person a person?" Republican Sen. Clyde Chambliss said as debate began on the proposed ban.

Senators rejected an attempt to add an exception for rape and incest. The amendment was voted down 21-11, with four Republicans joining Democrats in seeking the amendment.

"You don't care anything about babies having babies in this state, being raped and incest," Democratic Sen. Bobby Singleton said after the amendment's defeat. "You just aborted the state of Alabama with your rhetoric with this bill."

The bill's sponsor and other supporters had argued that exemptions would weaken their hope of creating a vehicle to challenge Roe.

Emboldened by conservative justices who have joined the Supreme Court, abortion opponents in several states are seeking to challenge abortion access. Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia 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 outlaw abortion outright.

"Our bill says that baby in the womb is a person," Republican Rep. Terri Collins, the bill's sponsor, said Monday.

There would be no punishment for the woman receiving the abortion, only for the abortion provider.

The text of the bill likens abortion to history's greatest atrocities, including the Holocaust.

Democrats, who hold eight seats in the 35-member Senate, criticized the proposed abortion ban as a mixture of political grandstanding, an attempt to control women and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

"You don't have to provide for that child. You don't have to do anything for that child, yet you want to make that decision for that woman," Democratic Sen. Vivian Davis Figures said. "It should be that woman's choice."

Singleton pointed out and named rape victims watching the debate from the Senate viewing gallery.

He said doctors who perform abortions could serve more prison time, under the proposed ban, than the women's rapists.

"This is nothing but a political game and women are the pawns," Staci Fox, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood Southeast. "Let's be honest, banning abortion does not stop abortion. It stops safe and legal abortion."

A crowd of about 50 people held a rally outside the Alabama Statehouse, chanting, "Whose choice? Our choice."

Several women dressed as characters from the The Handmaid's Tale, which depicts a dystopian future where fertile women are forced to breed.

If signed into law by Ivey, the bill would take effect in six months. Critics have promised a swift lawsuit. Randall Marshall, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, said a complaint is being drafted to challenge the ban.

"The governor intends to withhold comment until it makes its way to her desk for signature," deputy press secretary Lori Jhons wrote in an email prior to Tuesday night's vote.

Information for this article was contributed by Blake Paterson of The Associated Press.

A Section on 05/15/2019

Print Headline: Alabama's near ban on abortion passes Senate, sets up court fight

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Comments

  • JIMBOB47
    May 15, 2019 at 6:05 a.m.

    State's rights. The Federal ruling 'allows' it, it does not mandate it! Don't like your state laws - move..

  • Illinoisroy
    May 15, 2019 at 8:21 a.m.

    Religious issue! USA needs freedom from religion. I just wish that all the people who are anti-abortion would put their money where the mouth is and adopt the unwanted/unplanned children. Hell they won't even offer an effective social net for these poor children. Instead they post about thugs and ne'er do wells. SAD!

  • 3WorldState1
    May 15, 2019 at 9:11 a.m.

    Agreed. Whose quickest to bloodshed than the Republicans? Guns, war, death penalty, no healthcare for poor etc etc.
    but their “pro-life”. Whatever. Fake.

  • Packman
    May 15, 2019 at 9:33 a.m.

    Showing respect for life. Nice. Very nice.
    .
    Hey Illinois - Your ignorance is profound. Christians fund children’s homes and adoption facilitators to the tune of tens of millions of dollars each and every year. They are in FACT putting their money where their mouths are.

  • Seitan
    May 15, 2019 at 9:37 a.m.

    When you outlaw/criminalize abortions, all you are really doing is outlawing/criminalizing SAFE abortions. If you don't want one, don't get one. Stay out of someone else's womb. If you are a male, get fixed; problem solved.
    Jimbo. What stupid statement. Do you think it is so easy to just pack up and move? What alternate economy are you living in?

  • Seitan
    May 15, 2019 at 9:42 a.m.

    Hay, Packman, there are about 422,000 kids in fostercare. Why don't you and your fellow Christians adopt them first before you start telling girls & women what to do with their bodies? Hell, why don't you go adopt one today?

  • WGT
    May 15, 2019 at 10:07 a.m.

    Republicans are sick people. There is no other explanation than this being rabid insanity. If you disagree, you are the problem.

  • GeneralMac
    May 15, 2019 at 10:16 a.m.

    Alabama.....

    good southern state
    good southern folks

    I visited that wonderful state many times.

  • Popsmith
    May 15, 2019 at 10:18 a.m.

    Abortion is still murder.

  • GeneralMac
    May 15, 2019 at 10:29 a.m.

    Barack HUSSEIN Obama was upset when the United States Supreme Court upheld the ban on that gruesome procedure called.....partial birth abortion.

    That is where a live baby has only the head protruding far enough out so a scissors can be thrust into the base of the skull KILLING the baby.

    Once dead, the entire baby is pulled out.

    Barack HUSSEIN Obama, and everyone DEMOCRAT campaigning for president at the time, wanted that procedure to remain legal.

    "abortion right up until birth" is considered a bit radical today even by many Democrats.

    Back then, DEMOCRATS campaigning for president supported that gruesome procedure.

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