Will Kay Ivey Sign Alabama's Abortion Bill — And What If She Doesn't?

If signed, HB 314 would be the strictest anti-choice law in America.

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Today, all eyes are on Alabama governor Kay Ivey. The openly anti-choice governor of the state has a bill on her desk waiting for her signature—and, if Governor Ivey signs HB 314, Alabama will have the most restrictive abortion law in the country. Though Ivey has made her stance on abortion clear in the past (she's vehemently anti-abortion), she hasn't signaled yet whether she plans to sign the bill or not.

First, a little background: The Alabama House passed HB 314 last month, and the bill reached the Alabama Senate this week. HB 314, the latest in a string of anti-abortion measures taking shape across the country, would make performing an abortion a felony, effectively de-legitimizing the precedent set by Roe v. Wade, and doctors in the state could go to prison for up to 99 years for performing one. There would be no exception for circumstances in which the pregnancy is caused by rape. (The only exception is if the women's health is in critical jeopardy due to the pregnancy.)

Alabama's Senate voted 25-6 to pass HB 314, suggesting that if Gov. Ivey does not sign, there may be enough support in the Senate to push the bill through to law regardless. (More on that in a minute.)

Certainly, Governor Ivey has not shied away from her conservative stance on abortion rights. As recently as last August, Ivey pledged her "steadfast commitment to protect the lives of the unborn," and went on to support Brett Kavanaugh in last year's Supreme Court nomination battle. Although Ivey has refrained from commenting on this specific bill thus far, The New York Times reports that Republicans in Congress expect her to sign it.

But if Governor Ivey refrained from signing the bill for any reason—it's possible that she'll take issue with the lack of exception for rape or incest—what would happen? Well, the laws are different for each state, but in Alabama specifically, Ivey has six days to make a decision on the bill. She must either veto or sign it, or it becomes law in a matter of days.

And if she does veto it? Well, again, the process changes between state to state, but every state is technically able to "override" the veto of any governor. Alabama specifically requires a "majority" of its House and Senate members to vote to override a veto for that veto to become defunct, meaning more than half its members. Given that more than half of the members of Alabama's congressional chambers voted for the bill in the first place, it seems unlikely that the same body wouldn’t override the veto.

You can donate to Planned Parenthood here, an organization that has pledged to fight the anti-choice sentiment sweeping the country—and, potentially, the Supreme Court—until the end.

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Jenny Hollander
Digital Director

Jenny is the Digital Director at Marie Claire. A graduate of Leeds University, and a native of London, she moved to New York in 2012 to attend the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She was the first intern at Bustle when it launched in 2013, and spent five years building out its news and politics department. In 2018 she joined Marie Claire, where she held the roles of Deputy Digital Editor and Director of Content Strategy before becoming Digital Director. Working closely with Marie Claire's exceptional editorial, audience, commercial, and e-commerce teams, Jenny oversees the brand's digital arm, with an emphasis on driving readership. When she isn't editing or knee-deep in Google Analytics, you can find Jenny writing about television, celebrities, her lifelong hate of umbrellas, or (most likely) her dog, Captain. In her spare time, she also writes fiction: her first novel, the thriller EVERYONE WHO CAN FORGIVE ME IS DEAD, was published with Minotaur Books (UK) and Little, Brown (US) in February 2024 and became a USA Today bestseller. She has also written extensively about developmental coordination disorder, or dyspraxia, which she was diagnosed with when she was nine. She is currently working on her second novel.