ALABAMA lawmakers last night passed a near-total ban on abortions - including in cases of rape and incest - while threatening to jail doctors who carry them out for LIFE.
State governor Kay Ivey, a Republican, will make the final decision on whether to enact the controversial law after local senators voted in favour by 25 to six.
Pro and anti-abortion campaigners gathered in Montgomery, Alabama, where local lawmakers voted on the historic bill that would ban nearly all abortions
If it's signed off, the new law will make it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion at any stage of pregnancy - punishable by up to 99 years in jail.
The only exception would be when the woman’s health is at serious risk.
The historic legislation is designed to go against the US Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalised abortion nationally.
This means it will likely be challenged in the courts - but if backed by the current conservative-led US Supreme court, could see abortions banned across America.
NO EXCEPTION FOR RAPE AND INCEST
Senators in the Republican-led chamber rejected an attempt to add an exception for rape and incest - even of underage children - at the vote in Montgomery, Alabama, on Tuesday.
Democratic Sen. Bobby Singleton said after the amendment was rejected: "You don’t care anything about babies having babies in this state, being raped and incest.
“You just aborted the state of Alabama with your rhetoric with this bill."
COULD GO NATIONWIDE
The bill's sponsor, Republican Terri Collins, said she expects Gov Ivey to sign the ban into law.
Ivey has not publicly commented on what she’ll do - but the large margin in favour of the bill means any veto she might bring in to block it could be easily overturned.
Republican Sen. Clyde Chambliss said in a statement after the bill’s passage: “Roe v. Wade has ended the lives of millions of children.
“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.”
Abortion opponents in several states are currently seeking to challenge access to the procedure.
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 Alabama bill goes further by seeking to outlaw abortion entirely.
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Unlike measures in other states, Alabama would punish only the abortion provider - not the woman receiving the abortion.
In a statement, Staci Fox of pro-choice group Planned Parenthood Southeast said: “Today is a dark day for women in Alabama and across this country."
She added: "Alabama politicians will forever live in infamy for this vote and we will make sure that every woman knows who to hold accountable.”
Outside the Statehouse, about 50 people rallied and chanted: “Whose choice? Our choice.”
If the bill becomes law it would take effect in six months.
Critics have promised a swift lawsuit and the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama is drafting a legal complaint.
Democrat Bobby Singleton proposed an amendment yesterday that would have reinstated protections in cases of rape and incest.
He brought three rape victims into the chamber and pointed out that a doctor who performs an abortion could be jailed for longer than the rapist, reportsPolitico.
Singleton said: “Something is wrong with that.”
His amendment was defeated 21-11 with only four Republicans voting with the chamber’s seven Democrats.