Alabama Enacts Near-Ban on Abortion
Governor Kay Ivey, of the US state of Alabama has signed into law the most restrictive abortion ban in the United States, outlawing nearly all abortions, including in cases where the baby is conceived through rape or incest. Under the new measure, performing an abortion will be a crime punishable by a prison sentence of up to 99 years. Abortions would only be legal if the life of the mother is in danger or the baby has a fatal condition. The law is scheduled to take effect in six months, but it is widely expected to be challenged in court.
Republican-led legislatures in state after state are passing bills restricting abortion in a bid eventually to challenge Roe v. Wade, the 1973 US Supreme Court ruling that overturned state abortion laws.
Governor Ivey said that for now, the law may be unenforceable because of Roe v. Wade. But “the sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the US Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur,” Governor Ivey said in a statement.
Last week, the Republican governor of Georgia signed into law a ban on abortion from the moment a foetal heartbeat is detected, becoming the sixth US state to outlaw abortion after roughly six weeks of gestation.
Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky, Iowa and North Dakota have enacted similar laws, while Florida and Texas are considering following suit.
All of the state bans have either been blocked by a judge or are headed for the courts, and some of their backers have said - as Governor Ivey mentioned - that they want the issue to go all the way to the nine-member Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts is seen as the potential swing vote if the constitutionality of abortion eventually comes before the court.
RTÉ. May 16.