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.
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Jenny is the Digital Director at Marie Claire. Originally from London, she moved to New York in 2012 to attend the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and never left. Prior to Marie Claire, she spent five years at Bustle building out its news and politics coverage. She loves, in order: her dog, goldfish crackers, and arguing about why umbrellas are fundamentally useless. Her first novel, EVERYONE WHO CAN FORGIVE ME IS DEAD, will be published by Minotaur Books on February 6, 2024.
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