What happens next with Alabama's near-total abortion ban

1:01 p.m. ET, May 15, 2019

House Democrats call Alabama's abortion bill disgraceful and reckless

House Democratic leaders today reacted to the Alabama abortion bill, calling it a “disgrace” and “reckless.”

“It lays bare the reality that part of the right-wing conservative agenda in the United States of America is to take away reproductive health and freedom of the people of America. That is a disgrace,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, chairman of the Democratic caucus, told reporters.

Rep. Katherine Clark, vice chair of the Democratic caucus, called the action "reckless behavior.”

“We are not going back. Women in this country are not going to allow our fundamental rights to be infringed upon,” Clark said.
12:08 p.m. ET, May 15, 2019

GOP state senator: Every life is precious "even if its origins are in very difficult situations"

Alabama state Sen. Clyde Chambliss ushered the abortion bill through the chamber.

"Even if its origins are in very difficult situations, that life is still precious," the Republican said in explaining his support for the bill.

Chambliss said the bill impacts women who are "known to be pregnant." In a news release, Chambliss touted that his bill outlaws surgical abortions as soon as a pregnancy can be medically determined.

12:02 p.m. ET, May 16, 2019

Planned Parenthood executive warns the future is dangerous for women's health rights under Trump

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.

11:53 a.m. ET, May 15, 2019

Alabama Democrat: "Maybe we need to come up with a castration bill"

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.


11:30 a.m. ET, May 15, 2019

Bernie Sanders: Alabama senators are "hypocrites" who don't want big government, but want to control women's bodies

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.

11:12 a.m. ET, May 15, 2019

Alabama's governor has not yet received the abortion bill

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.

11:01 a.m. ET, May 15, 2019

A Democratic senator asked her Republican colleague, "Do you know what it's like to be raped?"

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.)

Figures continued:

"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.

11:00 a.m. ET, May 15, 2019

Alabama Republican: A baby in the womb is "a person"

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."

10:59 a.m. ET, May 15, 2019

The number of abortions in the United States has been on the decline since 1990

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.