MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Elected as Alabama's second-ever female governor, Kay Ivey has a resume full of government experience in the Southern state.
A former teacher and bank employee, Ivey, a Republican, previously served as director of government affairs and communications for the Alabama Commission on Higher Education in the 1980s and 1990s, the state's treasurer from 2003 to 2011 and its lieutenant governor for 2011 to 2017.
Now 74 years old, Ivey signed the nation's most restrictive abortion law Wednesday, a near-total ban in Alabama that's sure to face legal challenges.
"To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God," Ivey said in a statement.
An only child who's been married twice but never had children of her own, the Republican has made her positions known on family planning topics like abortion, adoption by gay couples and birth control.
After signing Alabama's new restrictions on abortion in 2019, Ivey said in a statement that she disagreed with the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision when it was handed down in 1973.
Prior to the bill's signing Wednesday, Ivey was asked by reporters about victims of rape and incest being required to carry a baby to term. Georgia's new abortion restriction carries an exception for those victims, but Alabama's new law does not. Ivey told reporters "all life is precious."
During her campaign for governor in 2018, she won the endorsement of several anti-abortion groups, saying in response to the Susan B. Anthony List's letter of endorsement that she "will always defend unborn life, starting at conception, and advocate for those who are unable to advocate for themselves."
Ivey believes the time is right for the Supreme Court to "revisit this important matter." She joined with the bill's sponsor, GOP Rep. Terri Collins, in 2015 when Ivey was lieutenant governor in a statement calling for the immediate defunding of Planned Parenthood.
Adoption and foster care
During Ivey's first year as governor, Alabama reportedly set a record for the most amount of foster children who found permanent homes, according to the state Department of Human Resources. A total of 710 foster children were placed in permanent homes during fiscal year 2018. The prior year saw just 509 children adopted.
In November, she signed a National Adoption Month proclamation, noting children in foster care or in need of adoptive parents. The proclamation also went on to "hereby encourage all Alabamians to support adoption" and to attend National Adoption Month events planned throughout the state.
Today, I was proud to recognize foster families & highlight the importance of adoption by signing a proclamation for Adoption Month. In FY18, DHR had a record-setting 710 finalized adoptions in Alabama! Thank you to those who provide children with permanent, safe & loving homes. pic.twitter.com/ITIFyuJoAl— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) November 26, 2018
Ivey previously signed a bill allowing faith-based agencies to refuse to place children with gay parents.
Ivey said in a statement that she signed the bill "because it ensures hundreds of children can continue to find forever homes through religiously affiliated adoption agencies. This bill is not about discrimination, but instead protects the ability of religious agencies to place vulnerable children in a permanent home."
The governor's office released a plan to address the state's infant mortality rate in June 2018. The plan aims to reduce the rate by at least 20% in three counties (Macon, Montgomery, and Russell) in the next five years.
The plan includes a focus on more health care; screening for substance abuse, domestic violence and depression; breastfeeding promotion; and teaching parents how to place their babies for safer sleeping.
It also looked at the possibility of making long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) available after the delivery of a child. The form of birth control, which includes items like intrauterine devices, injections or implants, can be more cost-effective than condoms or other methods.
"These programs have been demonstrated to reduce the IMR in other states, including South Carolina, whose own IMR reduction program offers Alabama a model for successful interventions," the report reads.
Follow Nate Chute on Twitter: @nchute.
This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey just signed the most restrictive abortion law in the US. Where does she stand on adoption, birth control?