The Alabama House of Representives passed four separate abortion measures Tuesday, one of which would practically end abortion in the state by making the procedure illegal once a fetal heartbeat is detected. This can happen as early as six weeks into pregnancy—i.e., before many women even realize they're with child. The other abortion bills approved Tuesday would:
- Extend the waiting period before abortions from 24 to 48 hours
- Require parents to present a daughter's birth certificate when giving parental consent for her to have an abortion
- Require women seeking an abortion because of lethal fetal anomalies to be couseled about "perinatal hospice services"
None of the latter three measures are likely to significantly impact the abortion rate in Alabama (their ostensible goal). But they do make the process more burdensome for those seeking abortions, in keeping with anti-choice legislators' punitive bureaucracy strategy. The ban on abortions after six weeks is also unlikely to impact abortion rates, considering it will almost certainly be stymied by the courts. Enforcement of similar bans in North Dakota and Arkansas have been halted by federal judges.
So it's not time to get all worked up about lack of abortion access in Alabama yet—but it is time for noting that, once again, legislators are wasting energy on something they know full well is absolutely futile. Good job, guys! You've made Alabama uteri exactly zero percent safer for fetuses, all while wasting time and taxpayer money… As Rep. Napoleon Bracy (D-Prichard) told her fellow lawmakers:
"We already know this is unconstitutional before you even vote on it. But you decide you want to vote on this so you can go back home and say, 'Look what I did.'"
Or so their's can be the match that finally sparks a Supreme Court challenge. Interestingly, the lawmakers behind the heartbeat bill are making no qualms about admitting this is their strategy. Generally, supporters of clearly unconstitutional abortion restrictions will swear 'til they're blue in the face that their sole motive is babies/women/safety in their state. But Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) and other supporters of the measure admitted outright that their intent is to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The four measures will now go to the state Senate.