The first challenge to Alabama's existing abortion law has been filed in the Alabama House of Representatives.

House Bill 17 (HB17), introduced by State Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa), seeks to strike down a section of the criminal code of Alabama that provides misdemeanor penalties for inducing or attempting to induce an abortion, miscarriage or premature delivery.

The current law states, "Any person who willfully administers to any pregnant woman any drug or substance or uses or employs any instrument or other means to induce an abortion, miscarriage or premature delivery or aids, abets or prescribes for the same, unless the same is necessary to preserve her life or health and done for that purpose, shall on conviction be fined not less than $100.00 nor more than $1,000.00 and may also be imprisoned in the county jail or sentenced to hard labor for the county for not more than 12 months."

HB17 would become effective immediately after being signed by Gov. Kay Ivey.

England's bill will not affect the state's dominant abortion ban, the Human Life Protection Act (HLPA) of 2019.

Ivey signed the HLPA on May 15, 2019. Shortly after, U.S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson filed an injunction to block the law from taking effect.

After the Supreme Court struck down Roe V. Wade in June 2022, Thompson lifted his injunction.

Alabama's law, considered one of the most sweeping in the country, bans abortion except in cases where there are lethal fetal anomalies or where an abortion is deemed necessary to save the mother's life. The law does not allow for exceptions for rape or incest.

Mothers who procure an abortion cannot be prosecuted under the HLPA, but doctors or others who perform or assist in an abortion will be guilty of a Class A felony.

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