HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Alabama was one of several states to enact a near total abortion ban. On Sunday, several state legislators spoke out in Madison County, calling for change.
Alabama House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels and District 19 Representative Laura Hall met with a local healthcare provider in Huntsville to urge Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to call a special legislative session to address state abortion laws.
Without exemptions for rape or incest, Alabama has enacted one of the strictest abortion laws in the country.
Until June, Dr. Sanithia Williams, a Huntsville-area obstetrician-gynecologist, was one of the few doctors providing abortion services in the area. She was working at the Alabama Women’s Center on the day the Roe decision came down from the Supreme Court, and she said the center had to immediately turn women away.
“Using the word devastated, but that really encapsulates what it was,” Williams said. “A lot of people crying and very viably upset.”
Williams said a lack of abortion access puts women in danger.
“It was really difficult as a provider to be present for that.,” Williams said. “Obviously, I know what it means, and I had my own emotional response to it.”
While Alabama law allows abortions that will save a mother’s life, Hall said she has had conversations with medical providers concerned about the implications of providing even life-saving procedures.
“They might have thought they were having an abortion, so there is some trepidation among physicians as well as women,” Hall said.
The Alabama Legislature is not scheduled to reconvene until March 2023. Daniels said that is too long to wait to address abortion laws.
“There are people that are impacted by this right now, and there are doctors and physicians across the state that are afraid,” Daniels said. “What’s next? Is it contraceptives next? They are going to continue until they’ve taken all of our rights, and so it’s time for us to stand up as a community. It doesn’t matter what party you’re in. It’s time for us to stand up as Alabamians and push back on any extremism that impacts the lives of women and women’s health in the state.”
Daniels and Hall said they are particularly concerned that Alabama abortion laws offer no exemptions for cases of rape or incest.