The Anti-Abortion Lobby May Have Overplayed Its Hand in Alabama

Alabama State Capitol

Last week, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill into law that constitutes a near-total ban on abortion, making it the most restrictive abortion law in the nation. If the legislation goes into effect (and that’s a big ‘if’ given the court battle it’s sure to face) doctors who perform abortions could face penalties of up to 99 years in prison. The bill also makes no exceptions for cases of rape and incest.

News of the bill’s signing has sent waves through the pro-choice movement, raising alarms that women’s reproductive rights are facing historic threats in 2019.

But while this might seem like a significant victory for anti-abortion activists, many staunch conservatives have expressed concerns that the Alabama bill could ultimately undermine their cause in Washington.

Televangelist Pat Robertson, for example, said that the Alabama state legislature has “gone too far” in trying to challenge Roe v. Wade. “I don’t think that’s the case I’d want to bring to the Supreme Court because I think this one will lose,” said Robertson during an episode of “The 700 Club.” Even Tomi Lahren, a commentator who regularly defends controversial conservative positions on Fox News, called the bill “too restrictive” and argued that it “doesn’t save life” in a tweet. Meanwhile, several top Republicans such as Donald Trump and Mitt Romney have sought to distance themselves from the Alabama bill as well.

Although a near-total abortion ban might play well with single-issue voters in the deep south, it’s far less likely to receive a warm reception from voters elsewhere in the nation.

According to the most recent polls from the Pew Research Center, 58 percent of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Another recent poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal found that support for Roe v. Wade is at an all-time high, with 71 percent of voters saying the landmark decision should not be overturned. With this in mind, a bill as draconian as Alabama’s could become a liability for anti-abortion lawmakers who have sought to make more incremental challenges to Roe v. Wade in the past.

In addition to being legally and politically dubious, the Alabama abortion ban has also mobilized pro-choice activists to launch widespread protests and make donations to organizations such as the Yellowhammer Fund, which provides funding and support for those seeking care at one of Alabama’s three abortion clinics.

To learn more about how you can fight back against restrictive abortion laws like the one that was just passed in Alabama, check out this helpful article from Refinery29.