The very likely unconstitutional House Bill 314 was met with major opposition on the Alabama Senate floor when Democratic Senator Vivian Davis Figures confronted her Republican colleague and bill sponsor Senator Clyde Chambliss.
HB 314 bans abortion and makes it a felony offense, including for victims of rape and incest, regardless of age. Doctors performing the procedure could face up to 99 years in prison.
The only exception is if the pregnant woman's life is in imminent danger.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed the strictest anti-choice measure into law on Wednesday, after a vote of 25 to 6 in the Alabama Senate.
The bill is one of many nationwide anti-abortion measures aiming to de-legitimize Roe v. Wade – the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that favored a woman's right to choose.
Asked Senator Figures ahead of the vote:
"Do you know what it's like to be raped?"
"No, ma'am, I don't."
She continued tearing into the senator and expressed her grievances toward the legislation's supporters who were coincidentally all white men.
“Do you know what it’s like to be raped? Do you know what it’s like to have a relative commit incest on you?” Alaba… https://t.co/qHdk5XL6hG— CNN (@CNN)1557919522.0
Figures proceeded to school the Alabama Senate floor on the traumatic impact rape has on victims.
"Okay, so that's one of those traumas that a person experiences just like that child experienced."
"To take that choice away from that person who has such a traumatic act committed against them, to have to bring that child into this world, and be reminded of that every single day ― some people can do that ... but some can't. But why would you not want a woman to at least have that exception for such a horrific act?"
@CNN Enemies of women’s health reproductive care. Locate and protest them . https://t.co/j7SJqFxApH— Luis H. Lopez (@Luis H. Lopez)1557920527.0
"Because I believe that when that unborn child becomes a person, and we need legal guidance on when that is ―"
But before he could continue, Figures interjected by finishing his thought for him and said:
"Not your business."
She was just getting warmed up.
"You don't have to raise that child. You don't have to carry that child, you don't have to provide for that child, you don't have to do anything for that child ― but yet you want to make that decision for that woman that that's what she has to do."
Alabama is now on nobody's tourism list.
@CNN Nicely done #Alabama I just marked #GulfShores off my list of vacation options not just this year, but permanently.— tkdale1 (@tkdale1)1557920114.0
@tkdale1 @CNN I am with you. Alabama loves pedophiles and hates women. Q the theme song to Deliverance. Theres a re… https://t.co/tVvvdOLc0O— Kelly (@Kelly)1557920793.0
@CNN Alabama is...regressing.— Lloyd Osten (@Lloyd Osten)1557919783.0
Figures, who is one of four women in the Alabama Senate, cannot imagine being tasked with the choice of performing an abortion but believes it is a woman's right to do so.
"I will have to be honest with you: I praise God every day that I was never, ever put in that situation to make that choice. I don't know what choice I would have made. I really don't."
"And that is why I so firmly believe that it should be a woman's choice, that a woman knows what she's up against, she knows what she has to do ― whether she can or cannot provide for that child."
Figures did not sugarcoat her statement when she implied that the male voters were on a power trip.
"You are playing God, in my opinion, because you've already decided what needs to be done. You all don't rule the world. I mean, you may think you do, but you don't."
According to The Huffington Post, all three of her amendments to the bill were rejected. Her first amendment asked for the male voters to cover the state's attorney's fees.
The second was to expand Medicaid eligibility, and the third amendment would make men who've had vasectomies guilty of a class A felony.
"In all of these abortion bills that you all have passed through the years taking away a woman's choice ... was there ever anything in there saying what would happen to the man who impregnated her? Why you all want to control our bodies, I will never, ever know."
@CNN Don't let them move the goalposts. It doesn't matter if there was rape, incest, or consensual sex. A woman has… https://t.co/0Lhw4qNYAg— Gail Zawacki (@Gail Zawacki)1557919920.0
Alabama's healthcare is ranked #46 nationwide. The state's prior laws banned abortion after 21.6 weeks of gestation. Women seeking the procedure were required to undergo a 48-hour waiting period and state-mandated counseling.
Staci Fox, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates, told Refinery 29 that the vote was "a dark day for women in Alabama and across this country."
"Banning abortion is bad enough. Imprisoning doctors for providing care goes beyond the brink."
"In the coming days, we will be mounting the fight of our lives — we will take this to court and ensure abortion remains safe and legal. For now, Planned Parenthood's doors are open for the many patients who need access to care."
The unconstitutional law many consider to be "draconian" is expected to be blocked by the courts.