May 1 (UPI) -- A bill banning nearly all abortions in Alabama passed the House of Representatives 74 to 3, with nearly all Democrats exiting the chamber in protest before the vote.
Republican Rep. Terri Collins, who sponsored the bill, said its goal is to be brought to the Supreme Court to overturn Roe V. Ward, which was a 1973 court case that legalized abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy, The Birmingham News reported.
If passed by the Senate and signed by Gov. Kay Ivey, the bill, HB314, would criminalize all abortions expect for when the life of the mother was at risk.
The bill would make it a Class A felony (10 to 99 years in prison) for a doctor to perform an abortion and a Class C felony (1 to 10 years in prison) for a doctor to attempt to perform one.
It does not contain exceptions for pregnancies that are the product of rape or incest.
"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 in not a person," Collins said. "This bill addresses that one issue. Is that baby in the womb a person? I believe our law says it is." I believe our people say it is. And I believe technology shows it is," The Montgomery Advertiser reported.
The vote Tuesday night followed a two-hour debate during which Democrats repeatedly returned to the issue of pregnancies as the product of rape with Rep. Louise Alexander asking Republican colleague Rep. Mike Jones what he would do if his daughter were raped and became pregnant, to which he said he wouldn't know what to do unless faced with that situation.
"Nobody knows what a woman goes through," Alexander said. "I know you don't because you're not a woman. You don't know why I would want to have an abortion. It could be because of my health, it could be for many reasons. My choice is important. I just want to say one thing: Until all of you walk in a woman's shoes, you all don't know."
The American Civil Liberties Union Alabama said it will challenge the bill if it becomes law.
"There are at least 14 other cases already being litigated around abortion access, with any of them potentially on their way to the Supreme Court and two are already there," the ACLU said in a statement. "Alabama doesn't need to be another pawn in the fight over abortion."