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Alabama governor signs controversial abortion ban bill into law

The bill, designed to challenge Roe v. Wade protections, makes it a felony for a doctor to perform or attempt an abortion during any stage of pregnancy.
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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a near-total abortion ban bill designed to challenge more than 40 years of federal abortion protection under Roe v. Wade into law Wednesday.

The bill, which makes it a felony for a doctor to perform or attempt an abortion during any stage of pregnancy, was approved by the state's Senate late Tuesday night after a contentious floor debate.

Alabama legislators passed the bill 25-6 after denying an amendment that would have made exemptions for cases of rape and incest.

Alabama House Rep. Terri Collins, who sponsored the bill, told NBC News on Tuesday evening that legislators wanted to keep the bill's text as clean as possible, specifically to address the language in Roe v. Wade, and revisit the question on whether a baby in the womb is considered a person.

The state's Republican governor said in a statement Wednesday that she personally disagrees with the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and that the legislation was a testament to "Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God."

“No matter one’s personal view on abortion, we can all recognize that, at least for the short term, this bill may similarly be unenforceable,” Ivey said. “As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court even when we disagree with their decisions.”

The American Civil Liberties Union’s Alabama chapter promised in a tweet Tuesday night to file a lawsuit against the state in order to "stop this unconstitutional ban and protect every woman’s right to make her own choice about her health care, her body, and her future."

There are only three abortion clinics left in the state of Alabama.

With the new conservative majority on the Supreme Court, lawmakers across the country are pushing for tougher abortion laws to challenge the high court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

"Heartbeat abortion" bans have also been signed into law in Mississippi, Kentucky and Ohio this year. Lawmakers in Tennessee, Missouri, South Carolina, Florida, Texas, Louisiana and West Virginia are considering similar proposals.

In a statement on the Alabama bill, the White House said that President Donald Trump is "defending the dignity of life."

“Unlike radical Democrats who have cheered legislation allowing a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb moments from birth, President Trump is protecting our most innocent and vulnerable, defending the dignity of life, and called on Congress to prohibit late-term abortions," the statement said.