Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Alabama Passes Restrictive Abortion Law; Other States Have Also

The Alabama legislature yesterday gave final passage to House Bill 314 (full text), which criminalizes the performance of abortions at any stage of pregnancy, except in cases of serious health risk to the mother, ectopic pregnancy or lethal anomaly in the unborn child. As reported by CNN, attempts to also include exceptions for rape or incest failed.  The Guardian today has an analysis of the growing number of states that are enacting, or attempting to enact, abortion restrictions that go beyond those permitted under current Supreme Court precedent, saying in part:
Anti-abortion campaigners have successfully enacted a ban on all or most abortions in seven Republican-led states: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio and Georgia.
Alabama’s law, which must be signed by the Republican governor, is the most severe.
At least 61 bills like this have been introduced across the country, in states including Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Minnesota, Texas and West Virginia. Even in states considered safe havens for abortion rights, such as New York and Illinois, anti-abortion lawmakers have introduced bills as a kind of protest.
The wave of restrictions is due primarily to the Trump administration’s judicial picks. Anti-abortion campaigners believe the chances of further restricting abortion through court cases are better today than they were a year ago....
Generally, the anti-abortion elements are made up of social conservatives. The Christian right has fought against abortion rights for decades, but some of its most extreme proposals have only recently started to pick up steam. The Christian right is also one of the Trump administration’s most fervent bases of political support.