A bill to ban nearly all abortions that was signed into law in Alabama this week is nearly identical to a bill that was pushed by Colorado Republicans earlier this year.
The Colorado bill failed in the state’s Democratically-controlled legislature, but like Alabama’s new law, it would have criminalized nearly all abortions, making them a class one felony punishable by life imprisonment or death. The bill included an exception in cases where an abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother, but not for rape or incest.
In fact, the bill, dubbed the Protect Human Life At Conception Act, has been introduced by Republicans in Colorado’s legislature yearly since 2013.
This year’s version of the bill was sponsored by state Reps. Stephen Humphrey (R-Eaton) and Lori Saine (R-Firestone), two of the staunchest social conservatives in the state’s legislature. But the bill has had widespread support within Colorado’s Republican Party since it was originally introduced.
Like in previous years, every Republican on the House Health and Insurance Committee, where the bill was heard and eventually struck down, voted in favor of it. This year, that included Reps. Mark Baisley (R-Roxborough Park), Susan Beckman (R-Littleton), Matt Soper (R-Delta), and Marc Catlin (R-Montrose).
Alabama’s abortion ban is part of a recent wave of aggressive restrictions on reproductive rights being passed by conservative state legislatures across the country. So-called “heartbeat bills,” which ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, have passed this year in Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, and Ohio. A detectable heartbeat can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before most women even know they’re pregnant.
The Alabama law, however, is the most extreme anti-abortion legislation the nation has seen since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973. It’s seen as a direct challenge to the decision, and anti-choice advocates hope it will trigger a lawsuit that eventually makes it to the Supreme Court and overturns Roe.