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Watch as Alabama Senate debates abortion ban bill

Watch as Alabama Senate debates abortion ban bill

Alabama's new law mandating an nearly blanket ban on abortion, the strictest in the United States, was passed by this group of exclusively white, male politicians.

The measure permits abortion only when necessary to save a mother's life, an unyielding standard that runs afoul of federal court rulings.

Supporters said the bill is intentionally created to conflict with the US Supreme Court's landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalising abortion nationally, because they hope to spark a court case that might prompt the justices to revisit abortion rights.

Highly restrictive abortion proposals are cropping up in state legislatures across the country. Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy. The legislation now goes to Gov. Kay Ivey, who will decide whether to sign the bill into law.

In a countermove, lawmakers in a growing number of states are racing to amend state constitutions to provide a backstop for the possible overturn of Roe v. Wade.

The bills up for votes Tuesday would prohibit physicians from performing a dilation and evacuation abortion except to save a woman's life.

Michigan's Republican-led Legislature is poised to vote to ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure, pushing ahead with legislation that would likely be vetoed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

But supporters of the Alabama ban said the right to life of the unborn child transcends other rights, an idea they would like tested.

"Is it a life?"

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"Our bill says that baby in the womb is a person", said Republican Rep. Terri Collins, the bill's sponsor.

Alabama Sen. Clyde Chambliss, who is shepherding his state's bill through the chamber, opened the tense and at times dramatic session by saying the bill could have national ramifications. "When is a person a person?"

The debate became emotional at times as Democratic Sen.

"The question for me - for us - is: When is a person a person?"

The only exceptions are for a serious health risk to the pregnant woman or a lethal anomaly of the fetus. The Plan B pill, for example, can prevent a pregnancy if taken shortly after sexual contact.

An attempt to add an exemption for rape is expected during the debate Tuesday night. He also said that it is unfortunate that lawmakers want to punish women for the sake of a political movement.

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.

Alabama already has a case in the federal courts over a restrictive abortion law passed in 2016.


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