Margeaux Hartline, dressed as a handmaid, protests against a ban on nearly all abortions outside of the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday, May 14, 2019. (Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)

Alabama gov. signs nation's strictest abortion law, making it a felony

May 15, 2019 - 6:10 pm

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama governor Kay Ivey has signed nation's strictest abortion ban, which makes performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases -- including rape or incest. 

Alabama lawmakers' vote to outlaw almost all abortions in the state has ignited legal and political battles as conservatives aim to challenge the Supreme Court's 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

The legislation makes performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy, with almost no exceptions, a felony. 

On Wednesday morning, abortion rights advocates urged AIvey to reject the bill and vowed swift legal action if it is enacted.

"We are laser-focused on urging Gov. Kay Ivey to veto this dangerous bill. If she chooses not to, then we will take this to court and ensure that abortion remains safe and legal and accessible in the state of Alabama," said Staci Fox, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast.

In Alabama and other conservative states, anti-abortion politicians and activists emboldened by the addition of conservative justices to the U.S. Supreme Court hope to ignite legal fights and eventually overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, putting an end to the constitutional right to abortion.

"Roe v. Wade has ended the lives of millions of children," Republican Sen. Clyde Chambliss, who shepherded the bill in the Alabama Senate, said in a statement. "While we cannot undo the damage that decades of legal precedence under Roe have caused, this bill has the opportunity to save the lives of millions of unborn children."

Democrats criticized the bill as a mixture of political grandstanding and a waste of taxpayer dollars. Although the bill's sponsor is a woman, they noted that the Senate Republican majority that approved the bill consists entirely of men.

"The state of Alabama ought to be ashamed of herself. You ought to be ashamed. Go look in the mirror," Sen. Bobby Singleton said. "Women in this state didn't deserve this. This is all about political grandstanding."