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Alabama abortion laws open to interpretation; Senate, House bills seek more restrictionscomment (0)

June 2, 2011

In Alabama, it is legal to have an abortion when it is necessary “to preserve life (or the) health of mother or where (the) fetus is not viable.”

An illegal abortion is defined as “willfully administering a drug, substance or instrument which induces abortion or miscarriage.”

But some Alabama legislators are seeking to do even more to protect the lives of the unborn:

• Senate Bill (SB) 201 would require insurance companies to not cover elective abortions unless the insured pays extra. It passed from committee and was read a second time.

• SB 183 would keep health care plans from providing coverage for abortion. It received a second reading.

• SB 202 would allow the state to opt out of “allowing abortion coverage by exchange participating health plans.” It passed to the House.

• SB 46 would give health care providers, institutions and payers the authority to refuse to perform services that violate their conscience without fear of termination. It has been carried over for further consideration.

• SB 308 would require physicians planning to perform nonemergency abortions to administer ultrasounds and display the images to pregnant women prior to the procedure. It was read for the first time in the House.

• SB 298 would make it unlawful to administer any abortion-inducing drug to a woman without her receiving an exam by a physician. It was read for the first time in the House.

• SB 34 would make it a crime to expose a child at any developmental stage to a controlled or chemical substance. At press time, it had not passed the Senate.

• SB 301 would define the term “persons” to include all humans from the moment of fertilization. It passed to the House. House Bill (HB) 405 is the companion bill, and HB 409 would propose “to define persons to include all humans from the moment of fertilization.” Both were read for the first time.

• HB 18 would prohibit elective abortion at and after 20 weeks of pregnancy, based on medical findings that an unborn child is capable of feeling pain. It recently passed the House 69–19 and is pending a third reading in the Senate. Several states have already signed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act into law.   (TAB)

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