Vote on abortion bill delayed after chaos erupts in Alabama Senate

Updated: May. 9, 2019 at 2:40 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Alabama Senate adjourned Thursday morning without voting on the controversial bill that would ban nearly all abortions in the state.

Chaos started when the Senate removed an amendment to allow abortions in cases of rape and incest.

Democrats said Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth called a voice vote to take away that amendment way too quickly. The Democrats said they didn’t have time to object.

“I’m really pissed because you know I respect the lieutenant governor. I respect his ability. I know he’s new. And we’ve been working along. But just because you want something to happen, doesn’t mean that you have to run over us," said Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro.

Republican Sen. Cam Ward stood up with the Democrats and agreed that it wasn’t fair.

The lieutenant governor responded in a statement saying in part: “Since taking the gavel, I have always followed both the spirit and letter of the Senate rules, and I will continue that practice as long as I am presiding officer. It is important that we pass this statewide abortion ban legislation and begin a long overdue effort to directly challenge Roe v. Wade. Abortion is murder. Those three simple words sum up my position on an issue that many falsely claim is a complex one."

The debate was shut down and the Senate adjourned because of the disorder.

“I think what [Democrats] would admit is they weren’t on their toes and they didn’t get their objections up in time. I went up to the secretary of state and asked was a motion made. And yes there was a motion made," said Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston.

The bill could come back up Tuesday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill Wednesday after adding the amendment. The bill had originally given exceptions only in cases when the mother’s health was in danger.

If the Senate eventually passes the bill with the exceptions in cases of rape and incest, it would return to the House.

Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, is the bill sponsor in the House. She has said the intent of the bill is for it to challenge the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.

Sen. Clyde Chambliss is the sponsor for the Senate version of the bill. He said the additional exceptions weakens the bill’s ability to overturn Roe v. Wade. Chambliss said he wants to see the amendment stripped.

Opponents to the bill say the proposal is unconstitutional and the legal fight would cost the state money.

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