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What overturning Roe v. Wade could mean for Alabama

Leaders in Alabama are divided on the issue of abortion.
Leaders in Alabama are divided on the issue of abortion.(Source: Gray Television)
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 8:31 PM CDT|Updated: May. 4, 2022 at 10:44 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - It was an unprecedented leak of the U.S. Supreme Court’s draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Their decision could leave the legality of abortion up to the states.

As expected, leaders in Alabama are divided on the issue. Republican leaders, including the governor, welcome the decision while Democratic leaders fear what this could mean for the future of reproductive rights.

Abortions remain legal in Alabama, and the final Supreme court decision, which could change from the draft, is not expected for a few months. But in Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey signed a near-total abortion ban into law in 2019. That law is currently blocked by a court but would go into effect if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned. It’s called the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, and the exceptions are for medical emergencies.

“People have always found their own way to terminate pregnancies,” said Robin Marty, operation director of the West Alabama Women’s Center.

And if Roe v. Wade is officially overturned, Marty says those will continue to happen, just at a higher rate.

“We may have patients literally on the exam table, but if that ends up being the day that the decision comes down, we literally have to take every patient and tell them to go home,” said Marty.

That’s because if Roe v. Wade is overturned, the legality of abortions could be left up to the states.

“I should probably just say when Roe v. Wade is overturned, activists on the anti-abortion side are going to then submit that injunction be withdrawn,” said Marty.

Rep. Terri Collins, R-Morgan County, sponsored the original abortion ban.

“I would think if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, that we would then want to pass legislation that would be our law, that would be the law we want for Alabama,” said Collins.

And as Collins waits for the Supreme Court’s official decision, she believes by next session the adoption process will be made easier to help women who can’t have abortions.

“The Alabama Law Institute has had a group that’s been working on our foster and adoption laws,” said Collins.

Meanwhile, the three abortion clinics in Alabama are also trying to figure out how to still help their patients.

“The amount of effort and resources financially that are going to be necessary to actually move patients to legal clinics are astronomical. And frankly, I don’t know if they can be sustained,” said Marty.

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, Florida would be the only southeastern state that would allow abortions based on current state law. Marty suspects their Legislature will swiftly ban the procedure.

There are some blue states working to ensure abortions remains legal for people who are out of state.

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