MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced on Wednesday evening that she has signed into law a bill that would outlaw abortion in most cases, with the exceptions of a “serious health risk” to the mother or if the baby has a “lethal anomaly.” Ivey advised that although she signed the bill, it might be “unenforceable” and the state will “continue to follow the rule of law” while it looks to the Supreme Court to revisit the issue.
“Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, a bill that was approved by overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the legislature,” she said in a statement. “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.”
However, Ivey also noted that the law is similar to one that is already on the books in Alabama, but was deemed unenforceable following the 1973 Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade.
“To all Alabamians, I assure you that we will continue to follow the rule of law,” she said. “In all meaningful respects, this bill closely resembles an abortion ban that has been a part of Alabama law for well over 100 years. As today’s bill itself recognizes, that longstanding abortion law has been rendered ‘unenforceable as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.’”
Ivey advised that the current bill may likewise be invalidated by the courts, and that the state will comply even when it disagrees. She stated that the sponsors of the bill see the legislation as an attempt to prompt the Supreme Court to revisit Roe.
“No matter one’s personal view on abortion, we can all recognize that, at least for the short term, this bill may similarly be unenforceable. As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court even when we disagree with their decisions,” Ivey remarked.
“Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama and Planned Parenthood Southeast have already vowed to file suit.
As previously reported, House Bill 314, also known as the “Human Life Protection Act,” says that “[i]t shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion except … if an attending physician licensed in Alabama determines that an abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.”
It also notes that the definition of an abortion “does not include a procedure or act to terminate the pregnancy of a woman with an ectopic pregnancy, nor does it include the procedure or act to terminate the pregnancy of a woman when the unborn child has a lethal anomaly.”
The performance of an abortion outside of the exceptions would be a class A felony. However, “[n]o woman upon whom an abortion is performed or attempted to be performed shall be criminally or civilly liable.”
While some, such as Ivey and the bill’s sponsors, view the U.S. Supreme Court as the final arbiter in the matter, others note that the court is not God and believe that civil magistrates should interpose.
“The idea that we are to always obey the civil government because it is appointed by God is absurd. The subjugation they are due is not without limits,” wrote Matt Trewhella, a pastor and leader of a pro-life ministry, in his book “The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates.” “When they pervert their God-given role and function and begin to reward those who do evil and punish those who do good, … we have no duty to obey them. Rather, we have a duty to do obey God.”
“The interposition of the lesser magistrate is … critically important for the protection of life. … Abortion is a clear violation of God’s law. The Scripture declares, ‘You shall not murder,’” he outlined. “The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, as well as its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, represent unjust and immoral rulings because they contravene the law of God. On this matter, the lesser magistrates are clearly obligated to resist and actively oppose the federal government.”