Alabama Governor Kay Ivey defends abortion ban

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is standing by an abortion ban passed by state lawmakers this week. 

If the bill is signed into law, Alabama will have the most restrictive regulations on abortion in the US, denying the procedure in cases of rape and incest, and allowing it only where there is a "serious health risk" to the mother.  

The new law goes further in its reach than women seeking an abortion to make it a Class A felony for doctors to perform an abortion and a Class C felony for attempting to perform an abortion in six months.

The bill, which has won praise from pro-lifers and scorn from the pro-choice movement, was passed 25-6 in the Senate on Tuesday night, having previously passed in the Alabama House.

Defending the bill, Ivey told reporters that "all human life is precious". 

Already anticipating a potentially costly legal challenge, Ivey suggested to reporters that a fight in the Supreme Court was not a strong enough reason to hold back on such legislation.

"You certainly cannot deter your efforts to protect the unborn because of cost, even if it means going to the United States Supreme Court," she said.

Senator Bernie Sanders was among those strongly criticising the bill. 

"The Alabama Senate voted to outlaw nearly all abortions. These hypocrites decry 'big government,' yet they want to control every aspect of women's bodies, private decisions, and futures. Our job is to fight at every step to protect reproductive rights," he said on Twitter.

Staci Fox, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates, told The New York Times, that the passing of the bill was a "dark day" for women in Alabama and across the US. 

"Banning abortion is bad enough. Imprisoning doctors for providing care goes beyond the brink," she said.

"Alabama politicians will forever live in infamy for this vote and we will make sure that every woman knows who to hold accountable."

Live Action founder and President Lila Rose disagreed. She said she was "proud" of Alabama for seeking to protect the unborn. 

"Of all the women and men that stood up against the abortion industry and the crusade of lies, misinformation and fear-mongering, and said we will fight so our laws protect life. We will make our states a safer home for mothers and children," she tweeted.