Alabama Governor Signs Strict Abortion Bill Into Law

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill into law Wednesday evening that bans almost all abortions in the state. The law could also potentially set up a challenge to Roe v. Wade.

The law bans abortions at all stages of pregnancy except when the mother's health is at "serious risk." Lawmakers rejected a proposed exception for cases of rape or incest. Doctors who perform abortions can face criminal charges that carry a possibility of 99 years in prison, but women who have abortions will not be prosecuted.

Ivey released a statement that said her state's residents believe "every life is a sacred gift from God."

"To the bill's many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians' deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God," Ivey said.

Ivey said the new law "resembles an abortion ban that has been a part of Alabama law for well over 100 years."

"As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court even when we disagree with their decisions," Ivey said. "Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973."

The law has drawn a firestorm of comments across the nation and moved Alabama to a growing field of states imposing tougher abortion laws. While Alabama's law is the first outright ban on abortion, states such as Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky and Mississippi have restricted it to the earliest weeks of pregnancy.

Randall Marshall, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, said the bill would "waste millions in Alabama taxpayer dollars" in an effort to overturn Roe v. Wade.

"We will not allow that to happen, and we will see them in court. Despite the governor signing this bill, clinics will remain open, and abortion is still a safe, legal medical procedure at all clinics in Alabama," Marshall said in a statement.

The new law will not take effect for at least six months., a website spanning several newspapers across the state, quoted Staci Fox, who's president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast.

"We vowed to fight this dangerous abortion ban every step of the way and we meant what we said. We haven't lost a case in Alabama yet and we don't plan to start now," Fox said. "We will see Governor Ivey in court. In the meantime, abortion is still safe, legal, and available in the state of Alabama and we plan to keep it that way."

Televangelist Pat Robertson disagreed with the Alabama lawmakers on his show 700 Club on Wednesday.

"I think Alabama has gone too far.… Again, I think it's ill-considered," Robertson said. "I think we ought to do it, but Roe v. Wade was a put-up case. It was a phony case.... it was an ACLU job dependent on the so-called 'right of privacy...but the Alabama case, God bless them, they're trying to do something, but I don't think that's the case I want to bring to the Supreme Court."