The Alabama Abortion Law: Hoosiers Weigh In

Posted on: May 16, 2019, by :
Alabama’s Statehouse, where a controversial near total abortion ban was recently passed.

By Jeff Turner

The Alabama Legislature passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country this week. The bill is the latest move in an attempt by Republican-led Statehouses across the country to prompt a Supreme Court challenge to Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in the U.S. The new law, which has been described as a near total abortion ban, was signed Wednesday by Alabama’s Republican Governor Kay Ivey. Under the new law, abortions would be completely banned, except for cases where the mother’s life is in danger. Any doctor or clinician who performs an abortion would face harsh legal consequences also.

The law comes in the wake of several restrictive abortion bills passed in other states, namely Ohio and Georgia. This new law will undoubtedly be challenged in court, though that is the stated intent of the bill of the bill by its sponsors, as many point out that it’s near total restrictions will automatically prompt legal challenges. President Trump has put two new Justices on the Supreme Court, both considered conservative, Neil Gorsuch, and more recently Brett Kavanaugh, who replaced the court’s more moderate “swing vote”Anthony Kennedy. Now conservative pro-life activists see their chance to achieve their ultimate goal.

So how do Hoosiers feel about the new Alabama law and Roe v. Wade potentially being overturned?

“(I feel) the public front of this law is very manipulative,” said Sydera Theobald, and Indianapolis resident. “Citizens who care deeply about (the) issue are voting on something completely different.” She went on to add. “Then, of course, most of those who chose to ratify this law are men, who have never and never will experience what it means to have a uterus or bear a child… the core issue becomes ‘how do we control women,’ rather than ‘how do we save lives’?”

She felt that such legislation would only endanger people, specifically women, rather than help them and would only exacerbate existing problems.
A great many people have been vocal about just how restrictive the bill is, which many feel is the intent, as it all but guarantees that it will go before the higher courts.

“This bill is only(there) because the anti-abortion zealots smell blood…and want to take it (the bill) to the Supreme Court,” said Charles Rutherford, another Indianapolis resident. “It’s too extreme and they will lose. Judge Roberts will not allow it.”

The law’s prevention of exceptions for abortions in cases of rape and incest is under intense scrutiny (even the most stringent anti-abortion bills prior to the Alabama one provide exceptions for abortions under these circumstances), prompting even evangelical pro-life Christian Pat Robertson of the 700 Club to publicly state that “Alabama has gone too far.” But will this bill ultimately be what brings the future of Roe v. Wade before the Supreme Court?

The court has definitely shifted rightward, as previously noted. But since the retirement of Justice Kennedy, Chief Justice John Roberts seems to have become the high court’s “swing vote,” multiple sources reporting how Roberts seeks to change the image of SCOTUS justices as being “partisans,” which a case determining the future of Roe v. Wade would do.

Whether or not the case will even make it to the Supreme Court remains to be seen. Laws passed recently in Ohio and Georgia restricting abortions are also expected to be fought in court. And it is increasingly likely that other Republican-led states will be drafting their own restrictive anti-abortion laws also.

The future of Roe v. Wade remains on shaky ground in the wake of the passing of Alabama’s new law and will likely be that way for quite some time. Many even suspect that the law may well be struck down in the near future given the current makeup of the Supreme Court. The fact remains that pro-lifers are increasing their attacks on Roe v. Wade, and even should the Alabama law and others be overturned in the courts, more legal challenges are guaranteed.

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