Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed a sweeping pro-life bill into law Wednesday, setting off what is sure to be a lengthy and contentious legal battle that conservatives hope will catapult the issue before the Supreme Court.
Ivey acknowledged that the law, which bans nearly all abortions in a state that already only had three abortion clinics, is probably unenforceable due to Roe v. Wade. But it reflects the will of Alabama voters and seeks to serve a greater purpose, she said.
"To the bill's many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians' deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God," Ivey said in a statement after signing the bill.
Later in the statement, she addressed the obstacles and ambitions of the law.
"No matter one's personal view on abortion, we can all recognize that, at least for the short term, this bill may similarly be unenforceable," Ivey said. "As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court even when we disagree with their decisions. Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur."
The bill makes it a felony for a doctor to perform or attempt an abortion unless it is to save the life of the mother, punishable by 10 to 99 years in prison. It passed both chambers of the state Legislature despite bitter divisions about its lack of exceptions for rape and incest.
Passage of the bill in the state Senate sent some Alabama Democrats over the edge, like state Sen. Bobby Singleton.
"You just aborted the state of Alabama! You just raped Alabama with this bill that you about to send out here, and the governor, when you sign it, you just raped the state of Alabama yourself! You just aborted and raped the state of Alabama!" Singleton said.