Law limiting Ala. abortions goes into effect

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's the first day of September and the first day for Alabama's new abortion law to be in effect. Governor Bentley signed the bill into law in June. Alabama is now the sixth state to ban abortions after the 20th week of a pregnancy.

"It's a baby at 20 weeks," First Choice Women's Medical Center Director Susan Bunce said.

The new Alabama law says beyond that stage of development, mothers cannot abort the fetus.

"It's an absolutely fabulous thing, it's one step forward," Bunce said.

Bunce says the new law is more than reasonable because by 20 weeks, ultrasounds confirm the babies heartbeat and human-like feature.

"We tell them the truth and then we show them and let them make their decision," Bunce said.

The Alabama statue relies heavily on what supporters say is scientifically-based evidence that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks.

"I think this is a landmark time in which we actually bring science to public policy in a way that will protect the fetus in a way so that it doesn't feel pain and not suffering," Christian Coalition president Dr. Randy Brinson said.

Dr. Brinson calls it a moral and legal victory.

"The courts have upheld the rights of the fetus, particularly if there's viability issues and if there's issues of pain," Dr. Brinson said.

An Idaho mother filed a class action suit challenging a similar law there. Dr. Brinson doesn't think the lawsuit will impact Alabama's law, but he believes it may be tweaked at some point.

"This is what needs to finally be defined. We need to find in our culture, how and what kind of restrictions we want to put on abortion. What kind of rights should the mother have? What kind of rights should the fetus have?" Dr. Brinson said.

Bunce hopes the new law gives the unborn child a chance to live.

"Ultimately that's what we want, for them to see that it is life," Bunce said.

Nebraska was the first to pass the fetal pain abortion ban. The other states are Kansas, Idaho, Indiana and Oklahoma.

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