Lawmakers in the Alabama House have passed one of the most pro-life laws in the country. But can it withstand a court challenge?
The state house voted on a measure Tuesday that would outlaw almost all abortions in the state. The legislation known as the Human Life Protection Act would make it a Class A felony to perform an abortion at any stage in a woman's pregnancy. It could mean a prison sentence from 10 to 99 years.
The Republican-led state House of Representatives passed the proposal after Democrats walked out.
Republicans had voted down Democrats' attempt to amend the bill to add an exemption for rape and incest. The bill does include an exemption for a threat to the mother's health.
The bill passed by a vote of 74 - 3. It now moves to the state Senate.
The Alabama Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union plans to challenge the bill in court if it becomes law, saying in a statement:
"The people of Alabama are paying the bill for unconstitutional legislation and we hope that the Senate members will realize its detrimental impact and stop this bill from becoming law. Otherwise, it will be challenged in federal court."
As CBN News reported in April, the bill would be used to directly challenge Roe v. Wade — the landmark 1973 US Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. If passed and signed into law, it would most likely be struck down by lower courts. However, the goal is for the case to make it to the Supreme Court for a new judicial showdown.
"The goal of this bill is to address Roe v Wade," said Republican Rep. Terri Collins, the House bill's sponsor. "I believe the Roe v Wade decision was based on a lack of information that the baby in a womb is a person."
The measure comes after Alabama voters wrote anti-abortion language into the state constitution, declaring the state recognizes the "rights of unborn children." Around 59 percent of voters approved the constitutional amendment last November.