Alabama GOP votes to jail doctors for up to 99 years for doing their job


Alabama's House of Representatives just passed the most draconian anti-choice bill in the nation.

The Alabama House of Representatives just passed a bill that would put doctors in prison for performing abortions, even though abortion is a constitutionally guaranteed legal right in the United States.

Ignoring the Constitution entirely, the Alabama bill criminalizes abortion and classifies it as a class A felony. Doctors could then face up to 99 years in prison if they perform an abortion. Unlike doctors, people who receive an abortion would not be criminally liable.

The proposed law also contains no exceptions for rape or incest. Abortions could only be performed if the mother's health is at serious risk or if the fetus has a lethal anomaly that would prevent it from surviving outside the womb.

The sponsor of the bill, Republican state senator Terri Collins, has a rationale for the bill that is equal parts absurd and disgusting. She claimed that it's OK to force women to carry a pregnancy to term and give birth no matter what because, as she put it, "That baby, I believe, would choose life."

She also said, "When a woman is pregnant, an abortion is no longer legal" — accidentally implying there might be some point at which abortion is legal, but only for people who are not yet pregnant. Finally, Collins included language in the bill comparing abortion to the Holocaust, to Soviet gulags, the Khmer Rouge, and the Rwandan genocide.

Collins and all the other Republicans who voted for this bill know full well that banning abortion is unconstitutional thanks to Roe v. Wade, which has been the law of the land for nearly 50 years.

That's precisely the point. Passing a blatantly unconstitutional law will trigger a lawsuit, and the ACLU has already vowed to sue if the measure becomes law. It's likely to pass the state Senate, and Republican Gov. Kay Ivey has suggested she supports it.

These anti-abortion zealots welcome that lawsuit because they are hoping it will go all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The bill's sponsor, Collins, even admitted that the bill was about Roe, and claimed that "the decision that was made back in 1973 would not be the same decision that was decided upon today if you relooked at the issue."

Unfortunately, she's right. It's a very different Supreme Court today than in 1973, and Trump has already been able to install two anti-choice hardliners — Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. They join Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, already known to be strongly anti-choice as well.

It's depressingly likely that if the right case reaches this court, Roe could be overturned. That's certainly what people like Collins are counting on.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.