Alabama House passes 'born alive' abortion bill

Alabama House passes 'born alive' abortion bill
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The Alabama House on Wednesday passed a bill requiring doctors to try to save the life of a baby born after an attempted abortion or face up to 20 years in prison.

The bill passed on a 66-18 vote along party lines in the Republican-majority chamber, AL.com reported. It now moves to the state Senate.

Doctors would be legally obligated to provide the same level of care to an infant born after an attempted abortion as they would to any other newborn, according to the bill.

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Physicians could face criminal felony charges if they failed to so, including up to 20 years in prison and a fine of not less than $100,000, according to the outlet.

“It’s to require a physician in an abortion center in the instance where a baby is born alive after an abortion or an attempted abortion, to provide reasonable care to try to save the baby’s life,” state Rep. Ginny Shaver (R), the bill’s sponsor, said.

Democrats argued that the legislation is not necessary, reading letters from Alabama doctors about the rarity of the situation, according to the newspaper.

“Here in the state of Alabama, we don’t do late-term abortions,” state Rep. Merika Coleman (D) said. “The situation that the sponsor talked about, we don’t have documented cases in the state of Alabama. I was just asking for the data. And I think it’s irresponsible for us as a Legislature to pass laws when we don’t have the data that actually backs it up.”

Shaver responded by questioning the accuracy of record keeping at the clinics, saying women might not know or misrepresent the stage of their pregnancy. 

“Even though we don’t do late-term abortions in Alabama, the situation still exists to where it could still happen,” Shaver said, according to the outlet. 

A similar measure was vetoed last month by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D), who argued that the legislation was unnecessary because the practice doesn’t exist.

The new bill in Alabama comes shortly after the state legislature faced nationwide backlash for passing the most restrictive abortion ban in the country.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) last week signed the law that bans abortions in almost all cases, including rape or incest, but acknowledged that the law may be unenforceable.