Del Marsh, one of the 25 all-male senators who voted for the abortion ban earlier this month, defended the legislation against criticism for not including exceptions for rape or incest by saying its sole purpose is to challenge the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling.
“At the end of the day, the bill passed with the only exemption the health of the mother,” he said in an interview with Sky News. “What I voted for was a bill to get to the Supreme Court to challenge Roe v Wade.”
“That’s what the instrument is,” he continued. “We understand that this is not the end game. The federal courts are going to have to make a determination. What we're trying to do is force, then reconsider. That's what this is all about."
Alabama’s abortion ban arrived amid a national trend in which states are passing restrictive legislation surrounding women’s reproductive health.
Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia and Mississippi have also approved similar laws in which abortions on banned when a fetal heartbeat is detected. Those restrictions can occur six weeks into a pregnancy, when most people are not yet aware they are with a child.
Not all states have taken a conservative approach towards abortion access in recent months, however. Nevada’s state legislature passed a bill relaxing decades-old policies surrounding abortion that critics said deterred women from seeking access.
Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey also called for the Supreme Court to reconsider its landmark ruling when signing the abortion ban.
“Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v Wade was handed down in 1973,” she said in a statement at the time. “The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the US Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur.”
The wave of bans have sparked major protests across the country, with many 2020 presidential hopefuls speaking out against the restrictive measures against women’s reproductive rights.
“Our democracy only works when the people of this country stand up and demand it,” Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York senator running for the White House, said at a #StopTheBans rally in Washington on Tuesday. “Do not allow this moment to pass without putting everything you have behind it … organise, advocate and vote.”