What Alabama’s Abortion Ban Does and Doesn’t Mean


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On May 15th, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law what is undoubtedly the most restrictive abortion bill in the country. The bill effectively outlaws all abortions in the state, punishing physicians that perform abortions with a lengthy prison sentence. The abortion bill is notably strict in the fact that it provides no exception for rape or incest.

The bill will be most effective in making this contention if it is as strict as possible. A bill that makes exception for rape and incest already surrenders the position that the fetus is indeed a human life or that the life is less important than certain motherly situations. This would make it easier for SCOTUS bypass making a definitive ruling.

Conservatives feel confident that they will make serious headway in the battle to overturn Roe V. Wade with a conservative majority on the supreme court, but I don’t think they have the majority they think they have on this particular issue. For starters, Justice Kavanaugh made it very apparent that the precedent should most definitely be followed here. Additionally, Chief Justice John Roberts lacks the courage to overturn such an important decision even if he is pro-life on a personal level.

While I don’t see the courts overturning Roe, reversing less definitive cases like Planned Parenthood V. Casey stands to vastly decrease the commonality of abortion. This case, though not as well known as Roe, made it possible to have an abortion in almost any situation. The result of this case was that abortions were warranted anytime the pregnancy presented an “undue burden” to the mother. As any mother will tell you, no pregnancy is fun. This is why this term can be applied under extremely broad circumstances. Making this terminology more strict is something this court would most definitely consider, and it would serve as a huge win for the pro-life movement.

The challenge to these abortions also comes at a very interesting time in the 2020 election race. There is little doubt we are still on the front side of this storm, and it will be in full swing over the next year and a half. This will most certainly be one of the biggest talking points in every presidential debate, and many democratic primary candidates like Mayor Pete Buttigieg have already come out against any restrictions whatsoever on abortion for the entire length of the pregnancy. This radical position is very susceptible to criticism and is sure to drive independents to the right.

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