Alabama postpones draconian abortion law after ‘fight breaks out’ in assembly chamber

Alabama postpones draconian abortion law after 'fight breaks out' in assembly chamberAlabama politicians have postponed efforts to pass a draconian abortion measure after shouting and chaos erupted in the legislative chamber.Legislators were poised to pass what would have been the toughest restrictions in the United States and would have placed Alabama residents on a par with those in many parts of the developing world in terms of access to abortion.The measure already passed by the state’s lower chamber only permitted abortion in cases where proceeding with a pregnancy seriously risked harming the health of the mother. The legislation would also make it a felony offence for doctors to carry out the procedure, with a maximum punishment of 99 years in jail.This week, an amendment was added that would have also permitted access to abortion in cases of rape and incest.Reports suggest that shouting and arguing broke out in the legislative chamber, located in the city of Montgomery, after Republicans sought to have those exemptions removed.The move shocked senate minority leader Bobby Singleton, a Democrat, who could be seen on video taken inside the chamber, calling for a roll call on every measure concerning the bill. “At least treat us fairly and do it the right way,” said another Democrat, Vivian Davis, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. “That’s all I ask….that’s all women in this state ask, both Democratic and Republican.”​Feeling emboldened by Donald Trump’s appointment to the US Supreme Court two conservative justices who may be open to challenges to Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that guarantees a woman’s right to a safe, legal abortion, anti-abortion activists have helped push restrictions in more than two dozen states this year. > Here are the minutes following complete chaos on the Senate floor on abortion ban bill: pic.twitter.com/sr0zhfWl2Z> > — Lauren Walsh (@LaurenWalshTV) > > May 9, 2019On Tuesday, Georgia became the latest of a succession of states to impose an abortion ban after the sixth week of pregnancy – the so-called “heartbeat ban”.“I realise that some may challenge it in a court of law but our job is to do what is right not what is easy,” Georgia governor Brian Kemp, a conservative ​Republican said as he signed the bill into law.The push in Alabama has been led by state senator Terri Collins, who has said she hopes the legislation would trigger a legal battle that could force the Supreme Court in Washington DC reconsider the Roe ruling.She told local reporters this week, she opposed the amendments that would allow abortion in cases of rape or incest. “To accept another amendment that weakens the argument, or diverts the message of the argument, which is the baby in the womb is a person, dilutes the whole message,” she said.The Associated Press said Thursday’s hearing was brought to a halt by Republican Del Marsh, the second highest ranking member of the senate. He said legislators should go home for the weekend and resume debate on Tuesday. Mr Marsh is among those Republicans who support the additional exemptions for cases of rape and incestGovernor Ivey has not commented on the legislation as it made its way through the two chambers of legislature.She does, however, consider herself “pro-life”, and supporters of the bill, which was approved by the lower chamber last week 74-3 last week, are confident she will sign it.Last week, the debate in the lower chamber became highly controversial and was seized on by conservatives across the country, after an opponent of the bill, used startling language as he spoke of his support for a woman’s right to choose.Democrat John Rogers said he was not “about to be the male tell a woman what to do with her body”.“Some kids are unwanted, so you kill them now or kill them later,” he said. “You bring them into the world unwanted, unloved, then you send them to the electric chair. So you kill them now or you kill them later. But the bottom line is that I think we shouldn’t be making this decision.”

 

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