Gov. Kay Ivey was asked about the new law after a news conference about the state tourism industry on May 20.
“The Legislature has spoken,” Ivey said. “It underscores the sanctity of life the people of Alabama value so highly.”
When asked by reporters if she saw the measure impacting the state’s tourism or business sectors, she said she didn’t expect any fallout from the state’s return to pro-life laws.
Ivey brushed off the media’s suggestion that the protesters that have been gathering could do any possible harm to tourism and efforts to woo new industry and business to Alabama.
“Alabama has a lot of different variety of things to visit and enjoy, and our visitors will continue to come,” Ivey said.
On May 19, marchers took to the streets in Montgomery, Birmingham, and Huntsville to protest the abortion ban that Ivey signed. Crowds chanted “my body, my choice!” and “vote them out!”
They said on May 20 that the measures have mobilized those who call for legalized abortion, and they say they are digging in for a legal and political fight.
The Republican governor last week approved a bill that outlaws all abortions except in cases when the pregnancy puts the prospective mother’s life is at risk.
While it doesn’t penalize a woman for undergoing an abortion, it makes it a felony to perform it, imposing penalties of 10 to 99 years in prison. The law provides no exception for rape and incest.
The law does not take effect for six months and legal challenges are expected to attempt to block the law in the courts.
Alabama is one of many more conservative states seeking to mount new legal challenges to Roe v. Wade (pdf)—the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
Governors in Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, and Georgia have approved bills on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as the sixth week of pregnancy.
Challenge to Roe v. Wade
The Alabama law takes aim at the core issue of whether an unborn child can be considered a person, as discussed in Roe v. Wade.
Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur), who sponsored the bill, had said the goal was to pass the bill in a form that would be able to challenge the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling in the strongest way.
The Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 legalized abortion nationwide by prohibiting states from banning abortions prior to when the fetus is deemed “viable”—that is, potentially able to live outside its mother’s womb.
In Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court said that if unborn children are persons, then they have the right to life. The decision concluded that unborn children are not persons, and acknowledged that the case to prohibit states from banning abortions would “collapse” if “the fetus is a person,” because then its “right to life would then be guaranteed” by the Constitution.
Norma McCorvey, the real name of “Jane Roe” from Roe v. Wade:
1. Lied about being raped
2. Said she was used by lawyers who simply wanted to change abortion laws
3. Sought, in 2004, to have Roe v wade overturned
4. Called her involvement in Roe the biggest mistake of her life pic.twitter.com/rGmMx2TgaE
— Adrian Norman (@AdrianNormanDC) May 16, 2019
According to AL.com, Collins said that if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, states could then later decide what exceptions to allow—such as incest or rape.
Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville), who sponsored the bill in the Senate, said that all unborn children deserve protection from the law, AL.com reported.
“Human life has rights, and when someone takes those rights, that’s when we as government have to step in,” Chambliss said, the Guardian reported. “When God creates that life, that miracle of life inside the woman’s womb, it’s not our place as humans to extinguish that life. That’s what I believe.”
Chambliss was asked about the legal costs the state would incur if the bill is challenged in court.
“Life is a gift of our Creator and we must do everything that we can to protect life,” he responded, according to AL.com. “And if it is a couple of million dollars, that is a small, small price for those lives.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.