The country’s strictest abortion ban was signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey Wednesday afternoon.
Huntsville has one of three abortion clinics in the state. Doctors there say making abortions illegal for them to do won’t stop women from getting them; it just means the way they get them could be dangerous.
The abortion ban will put doctors behind bars for up to 99 years, but they say the real backlash will be for the women seeking healthcare.
“When you’re limiting women’s options when it comes to something that is so complex it’s gonna be dangerous for women,” said Dr. Yashica Robinson, Medical Director at Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives. “Women are gonna find what they need and that may mean that they may have to resort to means that are outside of the healthcare system. We hope that that wouldn’t happen but we’re already seeing that now.”
Two thousand women get abortions at Alabama Women’s Center every year. Research shows abortions are safest when done earlier and women can access the service.
“When I was a senior in high school I chose to have an abortion,” pro-choice advocate Jenna King-Shepherd said at a public hearing in Montgomery. She spoke with WZDX News Wednesday via Skype.
“It hurts people who aren’t privileged,” King-Shepherd said. “I have the means to leave the state of Alabama and not everyone else does. That being said, it’s predominately people of color who are damaged by this bill because we live in a state where classism is essentially determinist with racism.”
“There are some women that may take some drastic measures,” said Robinson. “We already see patients trying to access medications over the internet or finding other means of ending a pregnancy just because even without such a drastic lobbying in place some women still have little to no access to abortion care.”
The ban is set to take effect in six months.
“I think that’s really important, that we continue to take care of patients right now,” Robinson said.
The ACLU plans to sue now that the bill will be law. It gives no exception for rape or incest.
The National Abortion Federation reports the only other abortion clinics in the state are in Tuscaloosa and Montgomery.
Read more about the ban here: Gov. Ivey signs Alabama abortion bill into law.