Now that Roe is overturned, Alabama prohibits all abortions with certain exceptions thanks to the Human Life Amendment Act, which was passed in 2019. Voters have affirmed that the Alabama constitution “does not protect a right to abortion or require funding for abortion.” There are over 50 pregnancy centers serving women in need across the state.
Alabama currently enjoys a super-majority of pro-life members in both legislative chambers.
Alabama judges and justices are elected in partisan elections for six-year terms. This system tends to reinforce the strong pro-life convictions of a majority of Alabamans. Indeed, two ongoing cases in the state’s federal court were positively impacted by the Dobbs decision: one on the state’s parental notification law and one on its abortion prohibition.
The governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, is a Republican. The Attorney General, Steve Marshall, called the Roe decision “fatally flawed” and, after the release of the Dobbs decision, stated, “any act of vandalism or violence against any crisis pregnancy center, church, or other pro-life entity in retaliation for [the Dobbs] decision will be prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office to the fullest extent of the law.”
The state conducted inspections of abortion facilities and publicized inspection reports. Even with that policy in place, however, Alabama abortion centers were routinely cited for failing to meet basic health and safety standards.
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Alabama Abortion Quick Facts
- Abortion is illegal in Alabama, but for certain exceptions.
- Chemical abortion pills are tightly regulated in Alabama.
Alabama’s Pro-Life Laws Across the Spectrum
Americans United for Life advances the human right to life across the spectrum of issues confronting the dignity of the human person. AUL’s comprehensive analysis of Alabama’s state laws on human life span the full spectrum of life issues from abortion, to health and safety protections, to patient informed consent, to conscience rights and bioethics.
Alabama’s Pro-Life Laws Key
- Yes, Alabama has this law and it is enforceable
- Alabama has this law in place, but it is currently not in effect due to litigation
- No, Alabama has no such law in place
- Not Applicable
- To Be Determined
State Constitutional Amendments and Statutes
Americans United for Life covers broad pro-life laws in this section. This includes both state constitutional amendments and state statutes designed to protect preborn human life. FOCA/RHA (or Freedom of Choice Acts/Reproductive Health Acts) are laws designed to enshrine and expand abortion and abortion businesses.
- Constitutional amendment stating no right to abortion
- Constitutional amendment preventing state funding of abortion
- Conditional law prohibiting abortion when Roe is overturned
- Pre-Roe abortion ban that will take effect when Roe is overturned
- FOCA/RHA, codifying an abortion right in state law
Mother-Child Gestational and Procedural Protections
States can protect both mother and child by limiting abortion by gestational age or prohibiting gruesome abortion methods. This category also includes life-saving care requirements for a child born-alive after an abortion, and health and safety requirements for a woman undergoing a chemical abortion.
- Gestational protections by age/week for preborn children
- Basic medical care for infant children born alive during attempted abortions
- Partial-birth (D&X) abortion ban
- Dismemberment (D&E) abortion ban
- Telemedicine abortion ban
- Follow up scheduled with patient for abortion pills complications
Prenatal Non-Discrimination (PRENDA) Protections
Increasingly states are enacting laws to protect unborn babies from eugenic abortions based on gender, disability, or race. Some states provide life-affirming resources for families who receive a diagnosis of a possible genetic anomaly like Down syndrome so they know that they’ll be supported.
- Protection against discrimination based on gender
- Protection against discrimination due to prenatal diagnosis
- Protection against discrimination based on race
- State-provided life-affirming resources for parents and families
Informed Consent Laws
Many states require a woman to give informed consent to an abortion, which holds abortion to a similar standard as other medical procedures. These protections include the disclosure of an abortion procedure’s nature and risks, the performance of an ultrasound to date the pregnancy and allow a woman to meet her unborn child if she chooses, and the time for a woman to reflect on this grave decision.
- Basic informed consent for mothers concerning abortion
- Patient signature or written confirmation of informed consent from provider
- Patient is provided state-sponsored informed consent website/information
- Reflection period (48 hours) protecting a mother’s discernment and choice
- An ultrasound is required to give a mother the opportunity to meet their child
- Information on risks of abortion procedure
- Information on the possibility of abortion pill reversal care
Abortion Reporting in Public Health Data
Reporting requirements ensure the government and public have a comprehensive view of abortion in the state when making important public policy decisions. This data includes basic information on instances of abortion, the gestational age of the aborted unborn child, demographics, procedure type, and complications.
- Basic reporting on instances of abortion
- Abortion reporting includes gestational age data
- Abortion reporting includes demographic information
- Abortion reporting includes procedure type
- Complication reporting
- Anonymized/aggregate data is made available to the public
- Anonymized/aggregate data is submitted to the CDC
Parental Rights and Protection of Minors
States protect a minor considering abortion by involving her parents in her life-changing decision, but also provide guidelines for judicial bypass to parental involvement when it is necessary. Other laws included in this section are safe haven laws which create a safe pathway to give up an infant and prevent child abandonment, and the dissemination of information on perinatal hospice to parents of unborn children with fetal anomalies.
- Parental consent before a minor obtains an abortion
- Parental notice of a minor obtaining an abortion
- Judicial bypass limits
- Mandatory reporting of suspected abuse
- Safe haven protections (72 hours)
- Perinatal hospice resources
Basic Health and Safety Standards
These laws bring abortion businesses up to the health and safety standards of medical facilities. States may limit both chemical and surgical abortion procedures to physicians, require the physician be licensed by the state, and require emergency transfer agreements or admitting privileges for the physician or the facility to protect a patient if she suffers post-abortion complications.
- Established health and safety standards for abortion businesses
- Basic regulatory inspections for abortion businesses
- Only physicians can perform abortions (all methods)
- Physicians required to be licensed in the state
- Emergency transfer/admitting privilege patient protections
- Physician’s license/credentials are disclosed to patients
Legal Recognition of Human Dignity for Preborn Persons
This section covers the ways states recognize the human dignity of unborn children. States increasingly require dignified disposition of fetal remains, whether from abortion or miscarriage. The law may provide for the issuance of a fetal death or stillbirth certificate. States may also protect the dignity of unborn children by prohibiting fetal experimentation and banning the sale or transfer of human fetal remains.
- Dignified disposition of fetal remains required
- Parents may request dignified disposition
- Human fetal death or stillbirth certificate issued to recognize the life of human persons (20 weeks)
- Sale or transfer of human fetal remains prohibited
- Fetal experimentation banned
Fetal Homicide and Wrongful Death/Life
Fetal homicide laws establish criminal penalties for the death of an unborn child. Wrongful death suits provide a civil cause of action for the death of an unborn child. A prohibition on wrongful life/birth suits affirms that no life is “unwanted.”
- Fetal homicide criminalization
- Fetal homicide law in place from the moment of conception
- Wrongful death suits
- Prohibition on wrongful life/birth suits
Assisted Suicide and Patient Care
These laws protect end-of-life patients from physician-assisted suicide, a practice that exploits vulnerable patients, has little government oversight, and undermines modern medicine. The Life-Sustaining Care Act ensures healthcare professionals may not override a minor patient or her surrogate’s decision to obtain or continue life-sustaining care. States with patient nondiscrimination acts protect patients from age or disability discrimination.
- Assisted suicide prohibition
- Life-sustaining care act
- Patient non-discrimination on the basis of age or disability
Bioethics, Human Cloning, and Embryo Research
As medical technology evolves, states increasingly enact pro-life bioethics policies to reaffirm human dignity and ban cloning. These laws also require ethical medical practices, ban destructive embryo research, and regulate assisted reproductive technology.
- Bans human cloning
- Bans taxpayer funding for human cloning
- Bans destructive embryo research
- Encourages ethical alternatives to embryo research
- Requires informed consent for assisted reproductive technologies
- Regulates egg harvesting
Healthcare Freedom of Conscience
These laws protect the freedom of conscience of healthcare professionals, institutions, and pharmacists against forced participation in assisted suicide and abortion. States also safeguard the conscience rights of healthcare professionals and institutions against unethical medical research.
- Individuals protected against abortion participation
- Public/Private institutions protected against abortion participation
- Pharmacists protected against abortion participation
- Individuals protected against participation in unethical research
- Private/public institutions protected against participation in unethical research
- Individuals protected against participation in assisted suicide
- Private/public institutions protected against participation in assisted suicide
- Pharmacists protected against participation in assisted suicide
Alabama Pro-Life Legislation Tracker
Alabama Abortion Inspection Initiative
AUL submitted a public records request, under the Alabama Open Records Act, Code of Ala. § 36-12-40 et seq., to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Bureau of Health Provider Standards. Alabama’s inspection reports are thorough. There are numerous citations for unsanitary conditions and improper practices, but also numerous gravely serious violations. At one abortion business, Beacon Women’s Center, there had been no biomedical waste pickup for a period of time so “medical waste was placed in black trash bags and placed in the abortion clinic dumpster.” A physician would reuse Lidocaine bottles by keeping the used needle in the bottle and switching syringes. Another abortion business, New Woman All Women Health Care, was also cited for using forms in the medical record that were pre-filled for every patient, for pre-signing forms in the medical record even when the medical staff member wasn’t working that day “to make it easier on [themselves]”, and not documenting whether some patients who were given the abortion pill had a pelvic exam.
In one of the records from this clinic, a 17-year- old stated it wasn’t her decision to have an abortion, but her mother’s. The counseling record form showed: “Do you think having this abortion is in your best interest?” A: “No.” “Are you sure you want to have an abortion?” A: “No.” “Do you think you will most likely be able to go on with your normal activities without emotional or psychological problems because of the abortion?” A: “No.” “Why do you want to have the abortion?” A: “Because my mother want[ed] me to.” There was no documentation anywhere that staff followed up with the patient to discuss her concerns. Lastly, at Beacon Women’s Center an administrator said she was unaware there was a mandatory statutory rape reporting law. A 14-year-old terminated a 16.5 week pregnancy. An undated progress note stated that both the patient and her mother verified the unborn child’s father was 16 years old, making it rape in the second degree in Alabama, but there was no documentation this was reported even though this “should have raised a reasonable person’s suspicion of abuse.” One employee said she did not have a policy for when and to whom abuse was to be reported. The surveyor asked if the Medical Director followed reporting requirements for minors who come for an abortion, but the Medical Director did not know to document what the minor patient said about the age of the father and did not know how or to whom he should report. He didn’t know that it needed to be reported even if a minor was the father. (Q: “So if mom is 12 and father is 15 then it will still have to be reported?”) Ultimately, there was no documentation the facility ever made the mandatory report on behalf of the 14-year-old or that anyone even knew they had to do this or how to do it.
At New Woman All Women Healthcare, a Registered Nurse (RN) made an error in draw- ing up Vasopressin dosages. (Vasopressin is a hormone intended to combat heavy bleeding.) Instead of drawing .02 cubic centimeters, she “misread the mark on where to draw up to” and was drawing 2 cubic centimeters—100 times the normal dose. She became aware she made a mistake when a physician asked her if she was drawing up too much medication because two patients vomited after he administered the paracervical block. This resulted in two patients being transferred by ambulance to the hospital. The RN was newly graduated and did not have a job description and nursing skills checked off in her file, and did not go through a compre- hensive orientation. The RN followed the RN Supervisor around a “few days to see how [the clinic] did things.”
Another abortion business failed to report suspected abuse to the authorities for a 14-year-old girl with two living children from separate births who came to the same clinic for two medical abortions in the span of four months. Lastly, a Birmingham abortion business suddenly closed in order to investigate the activity of two clinic employees who sold chemical abortion pills in the clinic’s parking lot. The two employees were reported to Alabama board of nursing.
NUMBER OF REPORTS: 43
DATE RANGE: 2009–2019