Today Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) signed “The Alabama Human Life Protection Act” into law. The act effectively bans abortion procedures within the state, except in cases where the life of the mother is at risk. Originally introduced in the Alabama state House as HB 314 back in April, the act passed the state Senate yesterday by a 25-6 vote largely along party lines.
The act makes performing an abortion, which is defined in the act as “The use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device with the intent to terminate the pregnancy of a woman known to be pregnant with knowledge that the termination by those means will with reasonable likelihood cause the death of the unborn child”, in Alabama a Class A Felony and a failed attempt at performing an abortion a Class C felony. Per the Alabama Criminal Code, Class A felonies carry a minimum prison sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of 99 years, while Class C felonies carry a minimum prison sentence of 1 year and a maximum sentence of 10 years.
The act carves out exceptions for “Medical Emergencies” which the act defines as “A condition which, in reasonable medical judgment, so complicates the medical condition of the pregnant woman that her pregnancy must be terminated to avoid a serious health risk as defined in this act”. “Serious Health Risks To The Unborn Child’s Mother”, defined by the act as cases in which “In reasonable medical judgment, the child’s mother has a condition that so complicates her medical condition that it necessitates the termination of her pregnancy to avert her death or to avert serious risk of substantial physical impairment of a major bodily function.”
The act goes on to define certain documented cases of mental illness as “Serious Health Risks”: “However, the condition may exist if a second physician who is licensed in Alabama as a psychiatrist, with a minimum of three years of clinical experience, examines the woman and documents that the woman has a diagnosed serious mental illness and because of it, there is reasonable medical judgment that she will engage in conduct that could result in her death or the death of her unborn child.”
Section 5 of the act protects women from being held criminally or civilly liable for seeking and/or receiving an abortion: “No woman upon whom an abortion is performed or attempted to be performed shall be criminally or civilly liable.”
The full text of the act is available here: https://legiscan.com/AL/text/HB314/id/1980843