The top Republican in the House said Thursday that he believes Alabama’s new restrictive abortion law — the strictest in the nation — goes too far.
“It goes further than I believe, yes,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters during a news conference.
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While the California Republican reiterated his anti-abortion stance, McCarthy took issue with Alabama’s ban for not including exceptions for cases of rape and incest.
“I defend my pro-life position for my whole political career,” he said. “But in my whole political career, I also believed in rape, incest or life of the mother. There was exceptions.”
“That’s exactly what Republicans have voted on in this House, that’s what our platform says,” McCarthy added.
Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed the law on Wednesday to outlaw nearly all abortions in the state, setting up a court fight that Republicans hope will end with the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
The bill, which was easily approved by the Republican-dominated Alabama House last month, does make an exception if the pregnancy poses a health risk to the mother. Under the measure, doctors could face up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion.
McCarthy declined to say whether he wants to see the Supreme Court strike down the Alabama law, but he did note that the bill’s author was hoping to spark a court challenge.
“[The author’s] point was to try to get it to the court,” McCarthy said. “The individual tried to make it to an extreme position to try to make a debate inside the court.”
The law, along with a number of other anti-abortion bills that have been recently passed in red states around the country, have generated a groundswell of opposition among abortion rights advocates who worry that the ideological makeup of the current Supreme Court puts the precedent set by Roe in jeopardy.
“When I was growing up, people got abortions,” tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) “Desperate women turned to back alley butchers or even tried the procedure on their own. Some were lucky, but others weren’t. They all went through hell. Access to safe, legal abortion is a constitutional RIGHT. Full stop.”