Alabama governor signs anti-abortion bill into law
A handout photo made available by Alabama Governor Office shows Governor Kay Ivey signing into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, Montgomery, Alabama, USA, May 15, 2019. EPA-EFE/ALABAMA GOVERNOR OFFICE HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
People participate in the anti-abortion March for Life rally at the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, USA, Jan. 18, 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/ERIK S. LESSER
Washington DC, May 15 (efe-epa).- The governor of the state of Alabama, Republican Kay Ivey, on Wednesday approved a bill that severely restricts abortions in the southern state.
The bill challenges a 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortions across the country.
"Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, a bill that was approved by overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Legislature," Ivey said in a statement.
The Alabama legislature on Tuesday passed the bill, which only allows abortions if the mother's health is seriously at risk.
The Democrats introduced an amendment to allow abortion in cases of rape and incest during the debate, but it was rejected by 21 votes to 11.
The bill will not take effect as it contradicts the 1973 Supreme Court ruling known as "Roe v. Wade," which legalized abortion throughout the United States.
The proposal's aim is to trigger a legal battle to bring the case to the Supreme Court so that its justices can reconsider the 1973 ruling. The court is currently made up of a majority of conservative-leaning justices after president Donald Trump appointed Brett Kavanaugh last year.
“We can all recognize that, at least for the short term, this bill may similarly be unenforceable,” the governor said in the statement.
“As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the US Supreme Court, even when we disagree with their decisions,” Ivey added, referring to the "Roe v. Wade" ruling.
“The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the US Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur,” the governor concluded.
In the US, abortion has been legal since "Roe v. Wade" deemed any state interference in a woman's pregnancy decision unconstitutional.
President Donald Trump's arrival in the White House and the appointments of conservative justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court have renewed hopes for those who want the ruling overturned.
In the meantime, the Republican Party has tried to circumvent that ruling by passing rules that hinder access to abortion on grounds of religious rights and women's health issues.
Trump has also withdrawn public funding from family planning clinics that offer abortions, a measure targeted primarily at Planned Parenthood, the largest such organization in the country.