On Wednesday, Alabama's governor signed a bill to ban nearly all abortions in the state, even in cases of rape and incest, in political conservatives' latest challenge to the landmark 1973 US Supreme Court decision establishing a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy.
US abortion-rights activists had already vowed to go court to block enforcement of the Alabama measure, the strictest anti-abortion law yet enacted by abortion foes aiming to provoke a reconsideration of the Roe v. Wade ruling.
Governor Kay Ivey, a Republican, signed the measure a day after the Republican-controlled state Senate approved the ban and rejected a provision to allow abortions for women and girls impregnated by rape or incest.
"To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God," Ivey said in a statement. "To all Alabamians, I assure you that we will continue to follow the rule of law." The law would take effect in six months.
"The idea that supposed leaders have passed a law that would criminalize a physician for assisting a woman on something that she, in consult with her physician, with her God, with her faith leader, has made the decision to do, that is her body that you would criminalize," US Senator Kamala Harris of California, one of the large field of hopefuls, said at a town hall on Wednesday morning in Nashua, New Hampshire.
“It just completely disregards women and the value of women and their voice. We have once again silenced women on a very personal issue,” said Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison, a Birmingham Democrat.
But Republican pollster Chris Kratzer noted that there is no congressional district and likely no legislative district in Alabama with enough swing voters to put Republicans at serious risk.
“The people who are outraged about this are not the people who are electing these guys, generally speaking, especially when we’re talking about the primary,” he said.