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• An Alabama abortion law that never went into effect specified that women receiving abortions would not be criminally or civilly punished. The law would have punished doctors who provided abortions.
New social media claims are circulating about a 2019 Alabama abortion law that never went into effect.
A May 18 post on Instagram says, "In Iran, if a 12-year-old girl is raped and impregnated by her father, she must carry the baby to term, or be thrown in prison for life. Wait, sorry, no, That's Alabama."
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The post gets the details wrong. The Alabama law specified, "A woman who receives an abortion will not be held criminally culpable or civilly liable for receiving the abortion." Instead, the law would have punished abortion providers.
Alabama passed the law in May 2019, and it would have outlawed abortions in almost every case, including rape and incest. It was scheduled to go into effect in November that year. But in October, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction that blocked the law until it could go before higher courts, AL.com reported.
The law would have made it a Class A felony for doctors to perform abortions — on par with crimes such as capital murder and first-degree kidnapping, according to CNN. In Alabama, Class A felonies carry a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of 99 years to life.
If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade, as a leaked draft opinion suggests it might, Alabama’s abortion law — which only makes an exception for abortion "in order to prevent a serious health risk to the mother"— would immediately take effect, according to AL.com.
An Instagram post says, "In Iran, if a 12-year-old girl is raped and impregnated by her father, she must carry the baby to term, or be thrown in prison for life. Wait, sorry, no, That's Alabama."
Alabama passed a law — which never went into effect — that would have implemented a near-total ban on abortion, including in cases of rape and incest. But the law did not include any criminal or civil punishments for women receiving abortions, only for doctors providing abortions.
We rate this claim False.
AL.com, "Most Alabama abortions would be banned if Roe v Wade is overturned: What to know," May 3, 2022
Associated Press, "Near-total abortion ban signed into law in Alabama," May 16, 2019
LegiScan, "Bill Text: AL HB314," 2019
Instagram post, May 18, 2022
New York Times, "Alabama Abortion Ban Is Temporarily Blocked by a Federal Judge," Oct. 29, 2019
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