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Alabama to ban abortion even in cases of rape or incest

Alabama has become the latest US state to move to restrict abortions by passing a bill to outlaw the procedure in almost all cases.  The law includes a ban on abortion in cases of rape or incest.

Supporters say they expect the law to be blocked in court but hope that the appeals process will bring it before the Supreme Court.

They want the court, which now has a conservative majority, to overturn the 1973 ruling legalising abortion.

Alabama’s 35-seat senate is dominated by men, and none of its four female senators backed the ban which will now go to Governor Kay Ivey.

She has said she will only sign it into law once she has considered it.

Sixteen other states are seeking to impose new restrictions on abortion.

Earlier this year the Supreme Court blocked implementation of new abortion restrictions in Louisiana. However the ruling was made by a narrow margin and the case is due to be reviewed later this year.

Why is this happening now?

The bill’s architects expect that it will be defeated in the lower courts, but hope that it will therefore eventually come before the Supreme Court.

They have been emboldened by the addition of two conservative justices nominated by President Donald Trump, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who give the nine-member court a conservative majority.

Their aim, they say, is for the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade ruling to be undermined or overturned completely.