Rapists in Alabama Now Face Less Prison Time Than Doctors Who Perform Abortions for Rape Victims
Update: On Wednesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed HB314 into law. Shortly after she announced the move on Twitter, linking to her official statement.
Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act. To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious & that every life is a sacred gift from God. https://t.co/DwKJyAjSs8 pic.twitter.com/PIUQip6nmw
— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) May 15, 2019
In a shockingly draconian move, Alabama just passed an abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest.
House Bill 314—or the “Human Life Protection Act”—passed in Alabama’s State Senate after a 25 to 6 vote on Tuesday. The bill now heads to the desk of Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey. If the Republican governor signs the bill, it will become law.
While HB 314 leaves no exceptions for rape or incest, it does allow for abortions when “necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk” to the woman. The entire text of the bill can be found here.
The bill also reclassifies abortion as a Class A felony, which is punishable by up to 99 years in prison for doctors who preform the procedure after the bill becomes law.
Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton said in the debate before the vote:
“It’s a sad day in Alabama. You just said to my daughter, you don’t matter, you don’t matter in the state of Alabama.”
Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth celebrated the bill’s passage on Twitter.
The ACLU took to Twitter just minutes after.
BREAKING: Alabama's legislature just passed a law that criminalizes doctors and makes abortion illegal.
Abortion is NOT a crime — it's a constitutional right.
We will sue to stop this law from ever taking effect.
— ACLU (@ACLU) May 15, 2019
In language that Jewish advocates have called “outrageously offensive,” the bill compares lives lost in the Holocaust to the number of abortions performed since Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision protecting s a woman’s right to the procedure.
In late April, Alabama’s House of Representatives approved HB314 in a vote of 74 to 3. After Republicans blocked an a rape an incest amendment, 28 of the state’s 105 representatives refused to vote on the measure.
Staci Fox, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates, called the bill a “death sentence for women across this state.”
Supporters of a women’s right to choose have become increasingly vocal across social media platforms since the bill’s approval on Tuesday.
In Alabama, incest is a Class C felony. You can’t get more than 10 years for it. The penalty for a doctor performing an abortion is 99 years. Just attempting to perform one will get you 10 years.
— Geraldine (@everywhereist) May 15, 2019
What Alabama is doing is blatantly unconstitutional and disrespects the fundamental right a woman has to make decisions about her own body.
I say to Gov. Ivey: Veto this cruel bill. Stop the attack on women’s rights. https://t.co/yByOIyJ6XL
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 15, 2019
In Alabama, the penalty for a doctor who performs an abortion on a patient, even in the case of rape or incest, is more severe than the penalty for actually committing rape or incest. https://t.co/zuKFfczw8g
— Geraldine (@everywhereist) May 15, 2019
Yes, the news out of Alabama tonight is HORRIFYING. Rapists are facing less jail time than a doctor who performs an abortion on a rape victim. See below for where you can donate to help fight and hopefully reverse this sheer evil. https://t.co/wxjC2VVUcv
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) May 15, 2019
Attacks on the legality of abortion at the state level have ramped up in the last year. Just last week Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill into law effectively prohibiting abortions after a heartbeat is detected. A heartbeat can often be detected 5-6 weeks into pregnancy, which is long before most women even know they’re pregnant. Georgie was the fourth state to pass a new abortion law in 2019.
Anti-abortion activists hope the recent onslaught of anti-abortion laws will cause the issue to be taken up, once again, by the Supreme Court with the goal of overturning Roe v. Wade. Advocates of stricter abortion laws aren’t shy about their goals. In fact, Representative Terri Collins, sponsor of HB314, called the bill a “direct attack” on Roe v. Wade. Collins said just last week, “The heart of this bill is to confront a decision that was made by the courts in 1973 that said the baby in the womb is not a person.”
The new law will not go into effect until six months after Governor Kay Ivey signs what some are calling a real-life Handmaid’s Tale.
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