- Chris Aluka Berry/Reuters
- Alabama’s 85% male legislature on Tuesday passed the strictest abortion ban the US has seen since Roe v. Wade.
- The abortion bill was passed by 25 white, male, Republican senators.
- Alabama has the sixth-lowest percentage of women in a state legislature nationwide.
- “This is the most extreme and dangerous policy since Roe vs. Wade, banning abortion at any point in pregnancy – going so far as to threaten doctors with life-in-prison,” Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, said in response to the bill’s passage.
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Alabama’s overwhelmingly male legislature on Tuesday night passed the nation’s strictest abortion ban.
The abortion bill was passed by 25 white, male, Republican senators.
All six of the votes against the bill came from Democratic senators, including two women – Linda Coleman-Madison of Birmingham and Vivian Figures of Mobile.
Malika Sanders-Fortier of Selma, also a Democrat, abstained. Another Democrat, Priscilla Dunn of Birmingham, has been absent due to illness.
The southern state’s legislature is 85% male overall, with 22 women out of 140 total seats – four women in the Alabama Senate and 18 in the Alabama House. Alabama has the sixth-lowest percentage of women in a state legislature nationwide. Women make up roughly 29% of all state legislators across the country.
In Alabama, 60% of the women who get abortions are black, and 100% of the senators in the state who just voted to pass a bill that effectively bans abortion are white and male.
The bill makes it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion in Alabama – punishable by up to 99 years in prison – and bans abortion in cases of rape and incest. The only exception is if the mother’s health is at risk.
Cecile Richards, the former president of Planned Parenthood, in a tweet on Tuesday night described the bill as “the most extreme ban on abortion we’ve seen since Roe v. Wade,” referencing the landmark Supreme Court decision in 1973 that effectively legalized abortion nationwide.
Dr. Leana Wen, the current president of Planned Parenthood, echoed Richards.
“This is the most extreme and dangerous policy since Roe vs. Wade, banning abortion at any point in pregnancy – going so far as to threaten doctors with life-in-prison,” Wen tweeted on Tuesday. “Doctors and public health leaders agree: the cost will be women’s lives.”
Other states have also recently passed harsh abortion laws, including Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Ohio, which is seen by reproductive rights advocates as part of a larger effort to overturn Roe v. Wade since President Donald Trump took office and began appointing conservative federal judges across the country – including two to the Supreme Court.
It’s unclear if Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey will sign the abortion bill into law, but if she does, it’s expected to face numerous legal hurdles.