Background: Senate Bill 35 seeks to add an exception for rape and incest to Alabama’s abortion ban, The Alabama Human Life Protection Act. The abortion ban only allows the limited exception in cases that pose “serious health risks” to a pregnant individual although even this vague language leaves abortion providers with very little guidance on how to interpret the law. Alabama’s abortion ban took effect in June 2022 following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision.
Our Position: We oppose SB 35. We cannot know all the personal and medical circumstances behind someone’s decision to have an abortion. Everyone should be able to get the abortion care they need, when they need it. Abortion ban “exceptions” aren’t workable solutions — they require someone to plead their case to a judge, lawyers, and hospital administrators. It’s cruel and unfair to expect this of survivors of sexual assault or incest or someone in the middle of a medical emergency. People should not need permission to access the care they need, and no one should be forced to disclose the reasons why they need abortion care. The call to add exceptions to abortion bans proves that one-size-fits-all laws don’t work. In order for our laws to address all the possible circumstances that someone who is pregnant might face, we need to end abortion bans and make access to medical care the rule, not the exception.