Alabama Abortion Law Sparks Controversy


Emily Swindell

Women across America are shocked and heartbroken in the aftermath of the bill that the Alabama Legislature passed which aims to prohibit abortions during a woman’s pregnancy. This includes an exception for cases where a woman’s health is at “serious” risk, but lawmakers rejected a proposal to add exceptions for cases of incest or rape.

The women themselves will not be prosecuted, but, if the courts allow the law to stand, the doctors who perform the abortions could be charged with a felony and face up to 99 years in prison for performing the procedure. The one and only exception of this law allows terminations of abortions of fetuses that have a “lethal anomaly,” where the child is likely to die either during or after birth. Additionally, if the child’s mother has an issue that complicates her medical condition that puts her at risk of carrying out a pregnancy then she is legally allowed to terminate the pregnancy. The termination of said pregnancy is allowed only to avoid her potential death or any other serious physical damage of major bodily functions.

However, any other cases such as rape and incest are not immunized and can still result in a 99 year prison sentence for the practicing doctor if convicted. Despite the possibility of a child coming out potentially deformed or mentally ill as a result of their parents sharing similar DNA, Alabama legislation doesn’t see that as an excuse to end the child’s life. According to MPR, “We understand that issues like rape and incest are difficult topics to tackle; nevertheless, it is our view that the value of human life is not determined by the circumstances of one’s conception or birth.”

Many perceive the issue with this is that the penalty in Alabama for rape is only 10 to 20 years, meanwhile if a girl gets raped and ends up being pregnant, she will either have to care for the child of her rapist or risk having her doctor receive a life sentence for only trying to help her. This can be seen as unfair, or puts all women at risk, or leaves them feeling unsafe and unprotected from the system set to protect them.

Alabama is only one of more than two dozen states seeking to restrict abortion rights this year and people fear that soon, any and all abortions will be completely outlawed and the women of America will be left without their own choice over their own bodies.