House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) has filed a bill in the Alabama House of Representatives to add abortion exceptions in cases of rape and incest.

Alabama currently has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. Alabama's Human Life Protection Act now bans all abortions with limited exceptions for the safety of the mother. The law went into effect after the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022.

While some in the state have attempted to increase penalties for those who procure abortions, others have expressed a desire to see specific exceptions added to the current law. However, neither legislative chamber seriously addressed the issue in 2023.

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House Bill 31 (HB31), sponsored by Daniels, would amend the 2019 law and add apparent exceptions for pregnancies that come as a result of rape and incest. In such cases, an abortion would be entirely permissible. 

The definitions for rape are consistent with the current statutes in Alabama law. The incest exception would apply only if the person knowingly engages in intercourse with a descendant, ancestor or sibling, including by adoption. It would also include stepparents and stepsiblings while the marriage creating the relationship still exists, as well as aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces.

HB31 does not contain in the legislation any means of proving the cause of a pregnancy. Skeptics of similar laws have speculated that the law could be used as a blanket green light on abortions without providing some means of proving the origin of a pregnancy.

The legislature is slated to gavel in on February 6.

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