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Abortion ban bill up for House debate, vote

By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News

A bill that would criminalize the performance of almost all abortions is expected to be voted on today in the Alabama House of Representatives.

House Bill 314 and Senate Bill 211 make performing an abortion a Class A felony, but women who seek or have abortions would not be criminally liable. The only exception in the bill is if there is a serious health risk to the woman or if the fetus has a “lethal anomaly.”

There is no exception for rape or incest.

Attempting to perform an abortion would be a Class C felony, punishable with one to 10 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

House Bill 314 is sponsored by Rep. Terri Collins, R- Decatur. She has said that her intent is to make this one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country and a challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark abortion case, Roe V. Wade.

Several groups have said they will sue to stop the law if it’s enacted.

The bill has more than 60 GOP House members signed on as co-sponsors, which is enough to get it passed in that chamber.

Last year, Alabama voters approved a constitutional amendment declaring the policy of Alabama is “to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life ….” It also says it is the policy of the state “to ensure the protection of the rights of the unborn child in all manners and measures lawful and appropriate.” The measure passed with 59 percent support.

The state’s current law bans abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless the pregnancy puts the mother at risk of death or serious harm. State law also requires an annual reporting of abortions by all providers.

There were 6,768 abortions performed in Alabama in 2017, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. Of those, 5,773 were performed at or before 12 weeks of gestation. None were performed after 22 weeks.

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