Alabama Outlaws Dismemberment Abortions — House Opponents Sing ‘We Shall Overcome’

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed two bills that place restrictions on abortions, saying that unborn children feel pain and suffer.

By Nancy Flory Published on May 17, 2016

Joining Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Mississippi, Alabama became the fifth state to sign into law a bill outlawing dismemberment abortions. Governor Robert Bentley signed the Alabama Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act on Thursday, May 12, 2016, saying that state law has long recognized that unborn children feel pain.

The new law prohibits performing a dismemberment abortion using instruments such as clamps or forceps to dismember the unborn child. However, it does not prohibit an abortion that uses suction to dismember the fetus and allows dismemberment abortion to prevent a serious health risk to the mother.

Violators of the law, which goes into effect on August 1, 2016, will either be fined $10,000 or jailed up to two years but not both.

Bentley also signed into law SB205, which prevents the state’s Department of Public Health from issuing or renewing “a health center license to an abortion clinic or reproductive health center that performs abortions and is located within 2,000 feet of a K-8 public school.”

The bill could force two of Alabama’s largest abortion clinics to shut down, reported the Montgomery Advertiser. The Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives in Huntsville and West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa were responsible for 72 percent of all abortions performed in the state in 2014.

When the bill passed, members of the Legislative Black Caucus sang “We Shall Overcome” in protest on the House floor. The ACLU of Alabama has already promised to challenge the laws.

Louisiana passed a similar bill and will become the sixth state with such laws when the governor signs it, as he has said he will, along with a bill imposing a 72-hour waiting period. The state senate approved it by a 35 to 2 vote.

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