WASHINGTON – Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) has six days to decide whether to sign legislation that would outlaw most abortions in her state.
On Tuesday night, the Alabama Senate approved House Bill 341.
The legislation, “Abortion, make abortion a Class A felony and attempted abortion a Class C felony,” passed the upper chamber in a 25-6 vote.
It is unclear whether Ivey, although an abortion opponent, will sign off on what is considered the most restrictive abortion measure in the nation.
The legislation would make abortion and attempted abortion a felony except in cases where the procedure is necessary to protect the life and/or health of the mother. It does not exclude cases of rape or incest. Doctors who perform those abortions would be charged.
Doctors who perform abortions could be sentenced to up to 99 years in prison.
The legislation does not apply either criminal or civil penalties to women who receive abortions.
The legislation would not go into effect until six months after it is signed into law.
Reproductive rights groups have said they will challenge the measure in court if it becomes law.
Passage comes just one week after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed legislation that would outlaw abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. The measure is designed to stop abortions that take place after a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
Critics of the measure say many women do not find out that they are pregnant until 20 weeks or later.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has said it will sue to overturn the law.
The signing of the Georgia law and passage of the Alabama bill have caused panic among abortion rights groups, many of which see the confluence of events as a precursor to a legal challenge against the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade.
Roe invalidated state laws that prohibited abortion.
If Roe were overturned, states could again outlaw abortion.