MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A bill was introduced in the House that would ban abortions once a pregnancy was medically detected.
Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, sponsored the bill to make it a Class A felony to perform an abortion. She said there is an exception in cases involving the health of the mother.
“The Constitution says there is a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of independence," she said. “I think that right to life is critical.”
Collins said the end goal is for the bill to become Alabama law and then make its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. She expects it will face legal challenges.
“That would be the whole point," she said. "Is to try to get the courts to re-look at this issue. Let’s look at it with the technology that we have available now.”
Randall Marshall is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama. He said if it became law, the group would certainly challenge it.
“I know there is an abortion debate in this country, but if anybody is going to make the decision, it should be women and not the government," Marshall said.
The ACLU said this could cost the state money in legal fees in the future.
“If the Supreme Court does not grant review, there will be a huge attorney’s fee bill that will be paid by the state of Alabama,” he said. “I think there is a slim chance that there is going to be an outright reversal, so this type of legislation is going to do nothing.”
However, Collins and Eric Johnston, the President of the Alabama Pro-Life organization, said it is worth the risk.
“It’s not a question of dollars," Johnston said. “It’s a question of humanity and looking at the law and looking at the signs. We need to protect children and unborn children are defenseless."
Staci Fox, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, released a statement on the bill:
"HB 314 and SB 211 would be a death sentence for women across this state. They would also criminalize our doctors, forcing them to make an impossible choice: treat their pregnant patients or protect themselves instead. In a state that already suffers from a physician shortage, high rates of infant and maternal mortality, cervical cancer mortality, unintended pregnancy, teen births, rural health care crisis, and opioid addiction, our lawmakers should be focused on increasing access to care - not restricting it. Beyond that, these bans are blatantly unconstitutional and lawmakers know it - they just don’t care. Alabamians are just pawns in this political game to challenge access to safe, legal abortion nationally.”