Author of Alabama abortion ban says state could add exceptions as it grapples with potential Roe ruling

The Alabama lawmaker who has led recent efforts to end legal abortion has said the state may have to rewrite an abortion ban that allows for certain exceptions if Roe v. Wade is canceled.

Alabama Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, said Tuesday ALcom that she would support new state legislation that provides certain exceptions to allow abortions in cases of rape, incest, or an unhealthy fetus, similar to heartbeat bills it is co-sponsored in the past.

“I think these are circumstances that would force (women) to make choices that I personally wouldn’t choose,” she said.

Collins introduced a bill in 2019 to ban abortions that sought to challenge Roe v. Wade, similar to the Mississippi bill that is the subject of the Supreme Court case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

A proposed opinion in this case, which would overturn Roe v. Wade, was leaked and published by Politico on Monday. Collins said if the landmark ruling is indeed overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, legal authority would revert to the states.

“Pro-life states would probably have some type of pro-life law regarding abortion, and pro-choice states would still have pro-choice laws,” Collins said, welcoming the return of state authority. on the question, “to make every state look like their people, which is fine, that’s what our country is based on.

Collins said she advocates adoption in difficult cases. However, she suggested there would be more debate about possible exceptions, as Alabama would likely need to draft a new law.

Meanwhile, immediately after such a decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, abortion clinics in Alabama would immediately stop providing abortions, said Robin Marty, director of communications at the West Alabama Women’s Center.

“We need to let patients know that if it’s a day when the court has to make decisions, which usually happens at 9 a.m., they may be in the waiting room and not be able to get an abortion. “, she said.

“They may even be on an exam table waiting for the doctor to come in and have to get dressed and go home.”

That’s because, she says, Alabama has books laws criminalizing abortion that predated Roe v. Wade, say “trigger laws.”

Marty, whose clinic is one of three still offering abortions in the state, estimates they perform about 270 abortions a month, which is about half of all abortions currently performed in Alabama.

The closest southeast state where women could seek an abortion if Roe v. Wade is canceled is likely Florida, she said.

Lauren Frazier, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Southeast, said the group has an online site where Alabama women can apply for financial assistance to travel out of state for an abortion. It may soon become their remaining option in states like Alabama.

She said banning abortion would have the biggest impact on disadvantaged black women, and she hopes voters will be pushed back because a majority of Americans say they believe abortion should be legall in certain circumstances, according to the polls.

“Politicians are not medical experts, we don’t consult them on our birth control, we don’t consult them on cancer screenings or any other form of reproductive health care,” she said.

Allan Parker, president of the Justice Foundation, a pro-life group that filed an amicus brief in the Mississippi Supreme Court case, said he represents more than 2,000 women, including Alabamians, injured by abortion.

“I remember one of the women saying, ‘The industry lied to me. They said, 10 minutes and you’ll never have to think about it, and I never stopped thinking about it. So the grief, the shame and the grief (are) deeper than the women know or are told by the abortion industry,” he said. tuesday.

He stated that if Roe v. Wade is overruled, Alabama shelter laws allow new mothers to bypass complicated adoption procedures and abandon infants at a local hospital or fire station.

“There is no cost, unlike abortion, so it is equally accessible to rich and poor alike,” he said. “We can stop killing the child, stop hurting the women and use the shelter laws.”

Marty, the clinic’s spokeswoman, said her clinic will remain open even though it is not possible to perform abortions. They will continue to provide health care to women, especially women who miscarry and who may be denied life-saving care at other hospitals and clinics in the state.

“We have actually seen patients who have come to our clinic because they have had local hospitals say that despite the fact that their water is already broken or their cervix is ​​already dilated, there is still a heartbeat, and so they’re not going to do anything,” she said.

Criminalizing abortions won’t stop women from performing their own abortions, Marty said, and she expects a backlash from people across the country who expect to have access to health care. abortion.

“I think the next year or two is going to be a huge reckoning, and we’re going to see a lot of GOPs, the ones that really want to stay in power, step back and start talking about allowing exceptions,” he said. she declared. . “Okay, maybe you can abort in the first six weeks, eight weeks.”

Rep. Collins said a majority of Alabamians support criminalizing abortion, as evidenced by the passage of a statewide anti-abortion amendment in 2018. She said the State had made efforts to make the adoption process as safe as possible for expectant mothers who would seek otherwise. an abortion.

“I hope they then give birth to a child and let that child be adopted by a family,” she said. “We have thousands of families expecting children everywhere.”

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