Amid the reactions to Alabama’s new restrictive abortion law were fears from some conservatives that the state has overstepped. Televangelist Pat Robertson, a longtime abortion opponent, made headlines last week for saying Alabama “has gone too far.” Even before Governor Kay Ivey signed the controversial bill into law, Robertson called it “extreme.”
During The 700 Club, Robertson said, “They want to challenge Roe v. Wade, but my humble view is that this is not the case that we want to bring to the Supreme Court, because I think this will lose.” He pointed to the lack of exemptions for victims of rape and incest, plus the severe punishments (up to 99 years in jail) for people who perform abortions in the state.
Rep. Terri Collins, who sponsored the Alabama legislation, admits its purpose is to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling legalizing abortion.
“I think it’s ill-considered,” Robertson said of Alabama’s new law, while also criticizing Roe. “But the Alabama case, God bless them,” he said. “They’re trying to do something, but…I don’t want to bring [that case] to the Supreme Court.”
Trump Tweets About Abortion Exceptions
Over the weekend, President Donald Trump tweeted support for some abortion exceptions and urged Republicans to “stay united…for life.” He affirmed he’s “strongly Pro-Life, with the three exceptions—rape, incest and protecting the Life of the mother—the same position taken by Ronald Reagan.”
Pointing to new judges and justices, Trump wrote, “We have come very far in the last two years.” He urged pro-lifers to “stick together and Win…for Life in 2020.” Otherwise, the “hard fought gains for Life can, and will, rapidly disappear!”
White House officials called the tweets an effort to tone down the debate and not scare away key blocks of women voters. “This is the best way to be pro-life…which is that you have these exemptions,” says one official. Trump wouldn’t have signed the Alabama law, the official adds, but the president “respects the right of states to make their own laws in accordance to what their electorate wants.”
Alabama’s law probably won’t get to the Supreme Court, the official admits, saying “one of the heartbeat cases or maybe one of the 20-week abortion cases” is more likely to be heard. A recent wave of fetal heartbeat legislation limits abortion after about six weeks, often before a woman knows she’s pregnant.
Americans Favor Restrictions, Poll Shows
According to a January poll, 75 percent of Americans—including a majority of pro-choice respondents—support limiting abortions to the first trimester. The poll, conducted by Marist and commissioned by the Knights of Columbus, found that only 30 percent of Americans want abortion to be unrestricted.
Though about 58 percent of Americans identify as pro-choice, analysts say the wording of poll questions makes it tough to categorize opinions about abortion.
At Alabama’s capital, demonstrators have been protesting the new law, which Gov. Ivey called “a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.” Critics call her a hypocrite for also supporting the death penalty.