Sine Die

The end of the Alabama Legislative session for 2019 was declared on Friday May 31st, 2019. Sources are speculating that there will be a second special session* this year (Dates TBA) as the past session did not deal with several other important issues to the state, namely the DOJ’s active investigations into ADoC (Alabama Department of Corrections) re: an active SPLC lawsuit.

 

Total Anti-Abortion Bills proposed: 5 (HB314, HB491, HB365, SB211 and SB272)

Anti-Abortion Bills Passed in House Committee: 2 (HB314 and HB491)

Anti- Abortion Bills Passed in the House: 2 (HB314 and HB491)

Anti Abortion Bills Passed in Senate Committee: 2 (HB314 and HB491)

Anti Abortion Bills Passed in Senate: 1 (HB314)

Anti-Abortion Bills Signed by the Governor: 1 (HB314)

 

*Alabama’s Governor called the first special session to pass a $0.10 per gallon gasoline tax. That special session began on March 6th 2019 and ended on March 12th, 2019.

ACLU Files Complaint re: Alabama Abortion Ban

Today the ACLU made a press release declaring their intent to sue the state of Alabama on behalf of Dr. Yashica Robinson, Planned Parenthood Southeast, Reproductive Health Services of Montgomery, West Alabama Women’s Center of Tuscaloosa, and Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives of Huntsville over it’s unconstitutional abortion ban, signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey on 05/15/2019.

Should the ban be allowed to go into effect, abortions would become illegal in the state of Alabama as of November 15th, 2019.

To read the full text of the thirty-nine page complaint, click here. 

 

Alabama Reproductive Rights Organizations Join Forces to Protest Abortion Ban

WHAT:

After the Alabama Senate voted to remove an amendment adding exceptions for rape and incest last Thursday, the Senate is now poised to pass HB314 when it returns to the floor on Tuesday, May 14. This bill would ban abortion and criminalize abortion providers with felonies that could result in up to 99 years in prison.

Alabama reproductive rights organizations POWER House, Yellowhammer Fund, ACLU of Alabama, and Planned Parenthood are gathering with their supporters on Tuesday evening to protest this ban. This protest will happen regardless of how the Senate votes.

WHO:

Speakers from POWER House, Yellowhammer Fund, ACLU of Alabama, and Montgomery Area Reproductive Justice Coalition. 

WHEN:

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 6 pm

WHERE:

Alabama State House, 11 S Union Street, Montgomery, AL 36106

For media questions, contact Rebecca Seung-Bickley at rseungbickley@aclualabama.org or Amanda Reyes at Amanda@yellowhammerfund.org

What does the upcoming abortion ban in Alabama mean? What will happen next?

As of this writing (May 6, 2019 @ 4:35PM CST), the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to have a public hearing AND vote on HB314, the House abortion ban that passed last week.  It is expected to pass out of the Senate Judiciary committee and be on the Senate floor for debate and a vote on Thursday, May 9, 2019 (time TBD).

So what does this mean?

It means that the Senate Judiciary committee WILL vote on AND pass this bill on Wednesday.  Statistically, there is no way for members of the Senate Judiciary committee to stall this going forward.

According to Del Marsh, Senate Pro Tem, it could be on the Senate floor on Thursday.  Based on the way these bills have moved in the past, we see no reason not to take Mr. Marsh at his word.

The only caveat we see on the Senate floor is this quote by Mr. Marsh:

“Marsh said he expects the rape and incest exception to be debated in the Senate. Marsh said he supports allowing that exception, as well as the exception for the health of the woman.

“Someone is going to have to make a pretty good reason why you would change that for me,” Marsh said.”

However; we are skeptical about amendments being added to the bill.  House Democrats attempted to offer amendments for rape and or incest, but those were shot down by the author of the bill:

“The bill would allow abortions to protect the woman from serious health risks. But there is no exception for pregnancies caused by incest or rape.

Collins opposed the Democrats’ amendment to add that exception in the House, saying the intent is to confront the Roe v. Wade decision by asserting that the unborn child is a person. The House rejected the rape and incest exception by a vote of 72-26.”

If the Senate votes on the bill with no amendments, abortion could TECHNICALLY be banned on Thursday by both houses (House & Senate).  In order to become law, the Governor has to sign the bill.

We have no doubt that the Governor will sign this bill.  It is Alabama, after all.

So what happens after it’s signed by the Governor?

The bill does not become law until six months after it’s passage and the Governor signing it into law.

Technically, abortion will still be legal in Alabama up to six months after the date that the Governor signs the bill.  BUT!

We have been told that the ACLU of Alabama is ready to file for a TRO when the bill is signed.  That means it will go in front of a federal judge, and will be granted a Temporary Restraining Order, meaning the state cannot enforce it.  We are confident a TRO will be granted, as people are guaranteed the right to abortion under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

Then it will wind it’s way to the courts: local federal court, then the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, GA,  if Alabama loses (which they always do) in local federal court.  From the 11th Circuit, it would wind up at SCOTUS, which is the whole intent of this bill in the first place.

This little romp in defying federal law (aka the Supremacy Clause) will cost YOU, the Alabama Taxpayer, MILLIONS of dollars in attorney’s fees.  This is a picture of the last check that YOU paid to the ACLU of Alabama:

Screen Shot 2019-05-06 at 4.26.47 PM
Are you ready for the State of Alabama to write another one?

What can I do now?

You can contact the members of the Senate Judiciary committee here (click on their names and their contact information will show up) and tell them to stop wasting taxpayer money on unconstitutional abortion bans.

SHOW UP to the Senate Judiciary Committee Public Hearing on HB314 on Wednesday, May 8, 2019, at 8:30AM in Room 325 at the Alabama State House.  Sign up to speak against the bill when you get there (the list will be on the podium).  Make several talking points and make sure not to repeat them if another speaker has already went over them.

SHOW UP for the vote on the Senate floor on Thursday.  As of this writing, we are not sure when the senate will convene, but keep checking back here and on our Facebook page and we will update you as soon as we know when that will happen.

We dare to defend our rights to abortion care.  GET READY TO STAND UP & BE HEARD!

 

HB314 Passes the Alabama House

Yesterday, the Alabama House passed HB314, a bill that would outlaw abortion in all circumstances, except when the pregnancy will lead to a “serious health risk” to the mother, and leaves even less room for mental health issues and suicidality. The law would make no exceptions for rape or incest. If any physician performs a successful abortion in the state, they could be charged with a Class A felony and face up to 99 years in jail. A woman seeking an abortion would not be criminally or civilly responsible.

If the bill becomes law, it would be one of the strictest anti-abortion restrictions in the United States. The legislation already has 67 co-sponsors in the 105-member House. In the 35-member, Republican-dominated Senate, which still needs to vote, 11 senators have co-sponsored a version of the bill (See SB211).

The proposed law would also undoubtedly unleash a wave of litigation, since its restrictions clearly conflict with Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. But that’s kind of the point: Republicans want the Supreme Court to eventually take up the case.

“I think fighting to overturn what I believe was a bad decision…is worth a fight,” Rep. Collins, R-Decatur the bill’s sponsor, told the Associated Press.

The bill was debated for almost two hours before the final vote.

Rep. Anthony Daniels, D-Huntsville, asked Collins to amend the bill to make exceptions for rape and incest. Collins said she would not take any amendments to the bill because she wants the focus of the bill to be on overturning Roe. The amendment was tabled on a 72-26 vote.

Merika Coleman, D-Birmingham and the Assistant Minority Leader, suggested an amendment that would make legislators who vote for the bill pay for the ultimate legal challengers the bill would incur with their own salaries. The amendment was tabled with a vote of 61-27.

“I don’t know why you are standing there with that smirk on your face, [Rep. Teri Collins] when you are destroying so many ladies in this country,” Rep. Mary Moore, D-Birmingham said.

Rep. Louise Alexander, D-Bessemer asked Rep. Mike Jones, R-Andalusia, what he would do if either of his daughters were raped and became pregnant. He said he could not know what he would do unless he was faced with that reality, to which she said proved her point.

“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, y’all don’t know.”

Rep. Rolanda Hollis, D-Birmingham read from a poem “If My Vagina was a Gun,” by Katie Hiem, comparing the gun’s rights debate to the debate of a woman’s right to an abortion.

“It is my opinion this will be a waste of taxpayer dollars that could ultimately go to addressing those real issues,” Rep. Neil Rafferty, D-Birmingham, told the Montgomery Advertiser.

“We expected this vote to happen and we are ready for a fight in the Senate,” said Staci Fox, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates. “Today’s floor debate made it crystal clear what Alabama lawmakers think about women. It also revealed just how callous and flagrant they can be.”

The ACLU testified two weeks ago in the House Health Committee to make sure lawmakers knew that the ACLU of Alabama would sue if they passed this bill. One of the previous lawsuits against legislation restricting access to abortion cost the state 1.7 million dollars in attorney fees.