The Alabama House overwhelmingly passed a bill Tuesday that would become the nation's most strict law against abortion to date.
What are the details?
The bill, dubbed the "The Alabama Human Life Protection Act," seeks to criminalize all abortions except in rare cases where the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother.
If the life of the mother is not at stake, then doctors who perform abortions would be guilty of a Class A felony, while doctors who attempt abortions would be guilty of a Class C felony under the law.
The Alabama House approved the legislation by a vote of 74-3, according to AL.com. The vote took place after most Democrats left the legislative chamber following heated debate with Republicans.
"Abortion advocates speak to women's rights, but they ignore the unborn child, while medical science has increasingly recognized the humanity of the unborn child," the bill states. "Recent medical advances prove a baby's heart starts to beat at around six weeks. At about eight weeks, the heartbeat can be heard through an ultrasound examination. A fetal Doppler can detect a fetal heartbeat as early as 10 weeks."
The bill also highlights the importance of protecting unborn lives, explaining that abortion in the U.S. is one of the greatest acts of genocide the world has witnessed.
"[M]ore than 50 million babies have been aborted in the United States since the Roe decision in 1973, more than three times the number who were killed in German death camps, Chinese purges, Stalin's gulags, Cambodian killing fields, and the Rwandan genocide combined," the bill says.
However, the bill would not punish women who receive abortions. In fact, it would protect them from both legal and civil recourse.
Alabama currently has only three health clinics licensed to perform abortions.
The bill heads next heads to the Alabama Senate for approval.
What's the purpose of the bill?
Aside from extending protections for unborn lives, and outright criminalizing abortion, Alabama state Rep. Terri Collins (R) said the legislation's major goal is to force litigation before the Supreme Court with hopes Roe v. Wade will finally be overturned, AL.com reported.
And there is a good possibility of that happening.
In additional to controlling the Alabama State Legislature with super-majorities, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) is almost guaranteed to sign the bill into law, forcing instantaneous litigation from civil rights groups who advocate for abortion rights, and eventually, a challenge before the Supreme Court.
The American Civil Liberties Union has already vowed to fight the law.