What happens next with Alabama's near-total abortion ban
Dr. Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a press conference today that the future is dangerous for women’s health rights, especially under the Trump administration.
“We have a President of the United States who willfully lies to the American people to score political points and to provide political cover for politicians who are passing extreme anti-women’s bills. With Trump in the White House and (Brett) Kavanaugh in the Supreme Court women’s health and rights are under assault like never before,” Lee-Gilmore said.
Correction: This post has been updated to accurately attribute a quote from President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund Dr. Leana Wen.
Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison, an Alabama Democrat, suggested that Democrats create a "castration bill."
"We said, 'You make the choice about your healthcare, you go out and get your own health insurance.' Well, shouldn't I also be able to make the choice about my body?" she said.
"It wasn't so very long ago when we started talking about the rights of women. Maybe we need to come up with a castration bill. I mean you guys come up with some crazy bills," she said to cheers in the crowd.
She even said she'd like to open up Republicans' minds and see what's inside, and suggested they speak to their mothers.
"I know God made women different. He really did. You all came from a woman. Did you not get anything from her? If you have a mother and she's still alive, deep down she would tell you this is not right. You're shaking your head, but I bet she would," Coleman-Madison said.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is running for president in 2020, called the Alabama state senators who voted to pass the restrictive abortion bill "hypocrites."
They "decry 'big government,' yet they want to control every aspect of women's bodies, private decisions, and futures," Sanders tweeted.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has not yet received the abortion bill passed by the state's Senate last night.
Lori Davis Jhons, spokesperson for Ivey, said they are not expecting to receive the bill until after the legislature gavels in later this afternoon.
"The governor will thoroughly conduct a review before providing any additional comment," Jhons said.
Ivey has not publicly taken a stance on the bill but has previously aligned herself as anti-abortion, lamenting the courts striking down another Alabama abortion law last year.
What happens now: Ivey has six days to sign the legislation, though the bill would not take effect until six months after becoming law.
Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, one of six Democrats who voted no on the bill, debated Republican Sen. Clyde Chambliss on the Senate floor last night.
"Do you know what it's like to be raped?" she asked. "Do you know what it's like to have a relative commit incest on you?"
Chambliss responded "no" to both questions. (Some context: Democrats had introduced an amendment to exempt rape and incest victims from the near-total abortion ban, but the motion failed.)
"You don't have to raise that child. You don't have to carry that child. You don't have to provide for that child. You don't have to do anything for that child — but yet, you want to make the decision for that woman, that that's what she has to do."
"I want to make the decision for that child," Chambliss responded.
During a media briefing following the passing of the Alabama's controversial abortion bill HB 314, Republican state Rep. Terri Collins said she believed it was the right time to get a law before the United States Supreme Court.
"It's the right time when you look at all the states around the country, whether they're conservative and they're passing very pro-life legislation or they're more liberal and they're passing the opposite, I think everybody's sensing that it might be time for a change," said Collins, who represents house District 8 in Alabama.
Bill HB 314 passed in the Alabama Senate with a vote of 25-to-6 with one abstention.
According to Collins, the bill was "designed in every way" to go to the Supreme Court.
"That's why we were trying to keep it just as it was," she said. "Was to address the issue that Roe v. Wade was decided on, which is that, that baby in the womb a person?"
Collins went on to say, "In Alabama law, it's a person. Our people in Alabama voted last fall. We believe that and we believe that's what it's aimed at," while also admitting that the bill is "not meant to be long-term forever law in my mind. We'll just have to see."
The number of abortions in the United States increased gradually from 1973, then peaked in 1990 and has been on the decline since.
The following is the number of abortions reported to the CDC from selected reporting areas as of April 2018:
- 2015: 638,169
- 2014: 652,639
- 2013: 644,435
- 2012: 699,202
- 2011: 730,322
- 2010: 765,651
- 2009: 784,507
- 2008: 825,564
- 2007: 827,609
- 2006: 846,181
- 2005: 820,151
- 2000: 857,475
- 1995: 1,210,883
- 1990: 1,429,247 (peak)
- 1985: 1,328,570
- 1980: 1,297,606
Meanwhile, the abortion ratio increased from 196 per 1,000 live births in 1973 to 358 per 1,000 in 1979 and then remained nearly stable through 1981. The ratio peaked at 364 per 1,000 in 1984 and has steadily declined since then.
Staci Fox, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates, said lawmakers are looking out for their own movement and not the lives of women they voted against last night:
"They are playing political games with women’s lives in states like Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. They have been blatant and overt about that. They know and say publicly that these laws are unconstitutional, and they don’t care. They don’t care about money they’re wasting, they don’t care about the lives they are risking. All they care about is getting attention in their own movement, in their own elections, next fall. We aren’t playing games. We are focused on patients who need access to healthcare. We are also laser focused in making sure that those that voted against women lives don’t return to work next fall."
The near-total abortion ban appears to set up an immediate fight over Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
Sen. Kamala Harris, speaking to a crowd in Nashua, New Hampshire, just criticized Alabama lawmakers for their stances on healthcare and abortion, saying, "They need to check their hypocrisy."
"I will also say that on this day where we saw what happened in Alabama, let us all agree, that women’s health care is under attack, and we will not stand for it. We will not stand for it," she said.
Harris, a former prosecutor, added:
"The idea that supposed leaders have passed a law that would criminalize a physician for assisting a woman on something that she, in consult with her physician, with her God, with her faith leader, has made a decision to do, that it’s her body that you would criminalize -- and say for up to 99 years, which is a life sentence -- and this is the same state, and the same kind of people, who also stand in the way of what women need in terms of a ban on existing conditions, to have access to issues like prenatal care -- like, they need to check their hypocrisy."