Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed on Wednesday the state’s controversial near-total abortion ban. The new law is now the most restrictive anti-abortion measure passed in the United States since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.
The legislation is known as House Bill 314, the “Human Life Protection Act.” It bans all abortions in the state except when “abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk” to the woman, according to the bill’s text. And it criminalizes the procedure, reclassifying abortion as a Class A felony, punishable by up to 99 years in prison for doctors. Attempted abortions will now be reclassified as a Class C penalty.
The most controversial part of the legislation is that it makes no exceptions for victims or rape or incest.
“Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act,” Ivey wrote in a statement Wednesday evening. “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious & that every life is a sacred gift from God.”
Alabama’s ban is the latest in a number of state-level anti-abortion measures that activists hope will be taken up by the Supreme Court and potentially overturn Roe v. Wade.
Last week, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law the state’s so-called “fetal heartbeat” bill which is a measure that will prohibit abortions after a heartbeat is detected in an embryo. That happens typically five to six weeks into a pregnancy, and before most women know that they’re pregnant. Georgia was the sixth to pass such a law, and the fourth this year alone.
In previous years the Supreme Court declined to hear such cases. But a new ideological makeup on the nation’s highest court, including the recent appointment of conversative Justice Brett Kavanaugh, has emboldened anti-abortion activists to try again.