By Mike Cason Alabama Media Group, Birmingham
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The fate of a bill aimed at trying to overturn abortion rights nationwide is now in the hands of Gov. Kay Ivey.
The Alabama Legislature gave final passage Tuesday night -- on a vote of 25-6 with one abstention -- to a bill to make it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion. The bill would take effect in six months if it's signed into law.
The sponsors of the legislation say the intent is to spark a legal challenge that could advance to the U.S. Supreme Court.
On Friday, Ivey said she would wait to make a decision on whether to sign the bill into law after the final version reaches her desk.
Ivey, while at the opening of a Hyundai engine plant in Montgomery on Wednesday morning, says she has not seen the abortion bill yet and is not ready to say whether she will sign it. Asked about the lack of a rape and incest exception in the abortion ban, she said "all human life is precious."
Tuesday night the governor's press secretary had said Ivey intends to withhold comment until she has had a chance to thoroughly review the final version of the bill the Senate approved.
Ivey was asked about legal costs of defending the abortion bill in the expected upcoming court fights. Ivey said, "You certainly cannot deter your efforts to protect the unborn because of costs."
She was also asked if she's concerned about fallout from abortion bill hurting business recruitment. "Alabama is wide open for business. It's a great place to do business," Ivey said.
A key decision on that final version came Tuesday night when the Senate rejected an amendment that would have allowed abortions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. The Senate rejected that amendment, proposed by Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, by a vote of 21-11.
On Friday, Ivey declined to say whether she would sign a bill without the rape and incest exception.
Ivey has previously made statements supporting pro-life positions, including bans without exceptions for rape or incest.
In November voters in Alabama approved an amendment that would outlaw abortion in Alabama if the Roe v. Wade ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 protecting abortion rights is overturned by a new majority on that court.
During her campaign last fall for election to her first full term as governor Ivey declined to debate on that and other issues.
But she did issue a statement criticizing Democratic nominee Walt Maddox for his stance on the proposed amendment. "It's unconscionable to me that Walt Maddox would join abortion rights activists from across the country in opposing this measure that simply recognizes the rights of our precious unborn babies," Ivey said in a press release.
Maddox said he is "pro-life" but does not support the amendment because it did not include exceptions for the health of the mother, rape or incest.
Ivey also released a statement on Aug. 22, 2018 regarding a ruling by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals affirming a lower court decision striking down the Alabama Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act. "I was supportive of the bill when it passed through the Legislature in 2016, and I signed it as president of the Senate. I am disappointed in the court's ruling today; however, we should not let this discourage our steadfast commitment to protect the lives of the unborn, even if that means taking this case to the U.S. Supreme Court. This ruling clearly demonstrates why we need conservative justices on the Supreme Court, and I look forward to the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh (who was later appointed to the court)."
In May 2018 the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) announced its endorsement of Ivey for governor before the Republican Primary.
"An original member of our National Pro-Life Women's Caucus, Kay exemplifies the pro-life, pro-woman leadership SBA List exists to promote. She has championed compassionate legislation to limit abortion after five months of pregnancy. She will fight to protect unborn children and their mothers and keep Alabama taxpayers out of the abortion business. We urge voters to re-elect Kay as governor of one of the nation's most solidly pro-life states."
In accepting the endorsement Ivey stated in the press release that "I am a pro-life conservative who believes every life is precious, and I'm honored to be endorsed by Susan B. Anthony List, an organization that works tirelessly to save the lives of the unborn. As governor, I will always defend unborn life, starting at conception, and advocate for those who are unable to advocate for themselves."