DECATUR, Ala. — Alabama Rep. Terri Collins says she will introduce a bill Tuesday that would ban abortions in Alabama, but since abortion is legal in the U.S., the fight is just getting started.
Alabama voters passed Amendment 2, declaring Alabama a right to life state, and asserting there is no right to an abortion.
Collins, R-Decatur, said the vote showed it’s time for an abortion ban.
“It’s very simple, it simply criminalizes abortions,” Collins told WHNT News 19 Monday.
The bill, which wasn’t released as of Monday evening, would make abortion illegal starting at two weeks from conception. Collins said it would make it a crime to provide an abortion. It’s not clear if a woman seeking an abortion could face charges.
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.”
Collins is unmoved by the argument.
“Women have lots of choices, I have lots of choices, but once the child is actually … you are pregnant, there is actually a baby there, that option should not be on the table in my mind,” Collins said.
The bill would make an exception for an abortion to save the life of the mother, but not in cases of rape or incest.
“The consequences are huge and they’re huge on women, not on men,” Branham said.
Collins wants the courts to reconsider Roe vs. Wade, but right now, the bill wouldn’t survive a court challenge, according to the ACLU of Alabama.
“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.”
Collins says it’s a matter of right and wrong.
“Just saying it’s wrong, in Alabama, I think is the right thing to do,” she said.
A previous bill approved by the Alabama Legislature requiring abortion-performing doctors to have hospital privileges was struck down. The ACLU’s Terry said Alabama had to pay the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, $1.7 million for court costs. Marshall expects Collins’ bill will produce a similar result.
“This would cost the taxpayers money that would go to organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union,” he said.
But Collins expressed confidence about the future of Roe vs. Wade.
“We think this is the bill that could overturn, what I consider to be a bad law, then it’s well worth spending the money,” Collins said.