Decatur lawmaker explains why Alabama abortion bill doesn't include exceptions for rape, incest

Representative Terri Collins wants the bill to be passed as is.

Posted: May 13, 2019 9:12 PM
Updated: May 14, 2019 12:36 PM

Alabama senators will vote on the heavily debated, highly controversial abortion bill on Tuesday.

"I hope that they're able to pass the bill as it is and send it to the governor," Representative Terri Collins said.

Collins, a Republican from Decatur and the bill's original House sponsor, is urging senators to pass the abortion bill as is with no exceptions unless the pregnancy compromises the life of the mother.

"The point of the bill is to actually address the reasoning behind the Roe v. Wade decision. Their reasoning was the baby in the womb is not a person," Collins said.

Collins said she's carried heartbeat bills over the last four years that included exceptions for rape and incest, and she said she thinks an Alabama abortion law would include those exceptions as well. Right now, the bill aims to criminalize abortion and directly oppose Roe v. Wade, which Collins hopes gets a now conservative majority Supreme Court's attention.

"What is happening is that all pro-life legislation is being ruled unconstitutional until we actually revisit Roe v. Wade decision," Collins said.

With the debate over exceptions, WAAY 31 did some research to find out how often rape and incest are listed as reasons for an abortion.

In a 2004 survey, Guttmacher, a research group that advances sexual and reproductive health rights, found that less than 0.5% of women had an abortion because they were raped. The most popular reason, at 25%, was the woman wasn't ready for a child.

More recently, a 2015 study from Abort 73, a pro-life group, breaks down the reason for every abortion performed in Florida. Of the 71,740 abortions in Florida that year, the study shows less than one percent combined were because of rape and incest. The study shows that 92% of women didn't have a reason and elected to have the abortion.

Collins said while she opposes exceptions at this time in this bill, it's not her permanent stance for future legislation.

"That's the goal of this bill. Not to be our long-term bill but to get the courts to revisit this issue of, is the baby in the womb a person?" Collins said.

Collins said she's anxious to move the abortion bill from the Senate to the governor as is, and she's hoping for the governor's support.

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