Bill introduced to ban abortion, criminalize in Alabama

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Decatur-area Rep. Terri Collins and dozens of co-sponsors introduced legislation Monday afternoon that would ban abortion in Alabama and the measure likens abortion to genocide.

Collins said Alabama voters approving constitutional Amendment 2 last year, which declared there was no right to an abortion in Alabama, showed her Alabama was ready to pursue an abortion ban.

“Just saying it's wrong, in Alabama, I think is the right thing to do,” Collins said.

Abortion is legal in the U.S. and the current measure would be struck down as unconstitutional if passed by the legislature, the ACLU of Alabama said Monday. 

“The bill would immediately be declared unconstitutional by a federal district court, that would be upheld on appeal,” said Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama. “And you’re looking at a minimum of two years before this could even get to consideration by the Supreme Court.”

Cindi Branham, a pro-choice advocate and a board member with Alabama Reproductive Rights Advocates, said the proposal is ill-considered.

“The consequences of a woman not knowing she's pregnant and getting past this two-week mark or possibly a six-week mark are that she's forced to carry the baby,” Branham said. “She's forced to give birth to it. It doesn't matter if she can afford to have this baby, if she's got 10 other babies.”

The measure would make providing an abortion a Class A felony in Alabama, punishable by 20 years in prison to life. A person who attempts to provide an abortion would face a Class C felony, with a year to 10 years in prison.

The bill does not suggest criminal charges for a woman who gets an abortion.

It also does not make an exception allowing an abortion to be performed for a woman who is pregnant by rape or incest.

The bill does allow for a physician to provide an abortion in cases where the life of the mother is threatened. It also creates a review process for possible abortion for a person deemed mentally ill who is likely to harm the fetus.

While the bill is in direct contradiction to the U.S. law governing abortion, Roe vs. Wade, which legalized it in 1973, it makes no apologies. Rep. Collins said after conception, it's about the unborn fetus.

"I think women have lots of choices, I have lots of choices," Collins said. "But once you are pregnant, and there is actually a baby there, that option should not be on the table in my mind."

The bill compares abortions to the genocides of Hitler, Stalin and Mao.

“It is estimated that 6,000,000 Jewish people were murdered in German concentration camps during World War 2; 3,000,000 people were executed by Joseph Stalin's regime in Soviet gulags; 2,500,000 people were murdered during the Chinese ‘Great Leap Forward’ in 1958; 1,500,000 to 3,000,000 people were murdered by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia during the 1970s; and approximately 1,000,000 people were murdered during the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

“All of these are widely acknowledged to have been crimes against humanity. By  comparison, more than 50 million babies have been aborted in the United States since the Roe decision in 1973, more than three times the number who were killed in German death camps,  Chinese purges, Stalin's gulags, Cambodian killing fields, and the Rwandan genocide combined.”

Rep. Terri Collins hopes the bill makes it to committee by next Wednesday.

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