Alabama's state Senate passed a bill on Tuesday, May 14th, to outlaw nearly all abortions, creating exceptions only to protect the mother's health, as part of a multistate effort to have the U.S. Supreme Court reconsider a woman's constitutional right to an abortion, reported Reuters.
The country's strictest abortion bill was previously approved by the Alabama House of Representatives and will now go to Republican Governor Kay Ivey, who has withheld comment on whether she would sign but is generally a strong opponent of abortion.
The law, which passed 25-6, would take effect six months after being signed by the governor, but is certain to face legal challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups which have vowed to sue.
Legislation to restrict abortion rights has been introduced this year in 16 states, four of whose governors have signed bills banning abortion if an embryonic heartbeat can be detected.
The Alabama bill goes further, banning abortions at any time. Those performing abortions would be committing a felony, punishable by 10 to 99 years in prison, although a woman who receives an abortion would not be held criminally liable.
The Republican-controlled Alabama Senate also defeated a Democratic amendment that would have allowed legal abortions for women and girls impregnated by rape and incest.
Anti-abortion advocates know any laws they pass are certain to be challenged, and courts this year have blocked a restrictive Kentucky law and another in Iowa passed last year.
But supporters of the Alabama ban said the right to life of the unborn child transcends other rights, an idea they would like tested.