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Alabama could pass a near-total ban on abortion as soon as Tuesday

Alabama considers near-total abortion ban

Alabama's near-total abortion ban legislation -- House Bill 314, the "Human Life Protection Act" -- could be passed into law as soon as Tuesday. If it passes it will be the most restrictive ban on abortion since the Supreme Court decided to legalize and protect the procedure nationwide with its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. 

The bill provides no exceptions for rape or incest and classifies the procedure as a Class A felony in the state. That means a doctor caught performing abortions in Alabama would face up to 99 years in prison.

The rape and incest clause was the subject of a fiery interaction on Thursday morning when Will Ainsworth, the Lieutenant Governor of Alabama, moved to reject an amendment that sought to include an exception for the two situations. Senate Majority Leader Bobby Singleton challenged the quick decision, leading to an angry exchange between the two politicians.

If the amendment had been added, the bill would have gone back to the House for a vote, leading to a delay.

Though it is likely the bill will be passed, it isn't likely it will be successfully implemented before being blocked by a federal judge, as it is in clear violation of Roe v. Wade. If passed, the legislation would likely join a host of other contested laws that anti-abortion activists hope will rise to the Supreme Court and potentially overturn Roe v. Wade. The proposed law flatly rejects the decision, saying "judges and legal scholars have disagreed and dissented with its finding."

State Representative Terri Collins, the bill's primary sponsor, called the proposed legislation a "direct attack" on Roe v. Wade.

"The heart of this bill is to confront a decision that was made by the courts in 1973 that said the baby in the womb is not a person," Collins said last week when the Alabama House debated the legislation. "This bill addresses that one issue. Is that baby in the womb a person? I believe our law says it is."

The legislation has been criticized by Jewish activists and abortion rights groups for comparing lives lost in the Holocaust to abortions