On May 15, 2019, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed House Bill 314, the “Human Life Protection Act,” into law. When signing the bill, Gov. Ivey said, “‘Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the US Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur.’”
The law makes abortion illegal except when “a mother’s physical health is endangered; when an unborn child suffers from an anomaly that would cause its death shortly after birth; [or] when a psychiatrist certifies that the mother would likely commit suicide or kill her child without an abortion.” The law makes it a Class A felony to perform an abortion and provides for lengthy prison sentences. (Women who seek or obtain abortions would not be prosecuted under its provisions.)
Alabama’s new law has been described as the most strongly pro-life law in the nation. Predictably, the left is up in arms; abortion advocates intend to challenge the law in court, and boycotts are in the works.
Alabama is just one of several states that have passed laws protecting the unborn this year. According to CNN, the states of Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio have passed laws banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. In addition, Arkansas and Utah have banned abortions after 18 weeks’ gestation. Now, additional measures may be moving in Missouri and Louisiana.
The recent groundswell of pro-life laws may have been inspired by the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States; some observers believe that the Court will be more hospitable to a challenge to Roe v. Wade than it would have been during the tenure of Justice Anthony Kennedy. At New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, however, we believe that the national revulsion at the passage of the Reproductive Health Act here in New York has also played a role in motivating other states to stand for life.