New state bans push abortion to the forefront of 2020 campaigns

A new law in Alabama bans abortion from conception, except when necessary to prevent a serious health risk to the mother. and even then, access to the procedure would be hard to come by.

The legislation joins a string of measures in pro-life states that are clearly unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade. But the bills' backers are betting the U.S. Supreme Court's new five-justice conservative majority is ready to reverse the 46-year-old precedent.

State Rep. Terri Collins, a Republican and the lead sponsor of the bill, made her ambitions known after the state Senate passed the bill Tuesday night: "It's time for Roe vs. Wade to be looked at again."

Under Supreme Court precedent, states can't unduly burden—let alone ban—abortion before fetal viability (generally at 23 or 24 weeks of pregnancy.)

Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill into law Wednesday. It will go into effect in six months.

But the ACLU has vowed to sue.

"We will not stand by while politicians endanger the lives of women and doctors for political gain," the ALCU said in a statement. "Know this, Governor Ivey: if you sign this dangerous bill into law, we will see you in court."

In Ohio, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood have filed suit to block that state's six-week abortion ban, which is set to go into effect in July.

But with Georgia's governor signing into law another six-week ban last week, abortion opponents are confident they have the high court on their side.

The court last affirmed abortion rights in 2016. But Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a conservative, replaced swing Justice Anthony Kennedy, which changed the calculus, according to Professor Caroline Mala Corbin of the University of Miami School of Law.

"The newly configured Supreme Court has given hope to many abortion opponents that they will finally have their way and the right to abortion will be eliminated as a constitutional right," Corbin told FOX 5 NY.

As these challenges to the court's landmark 1973 decision work their way up the judicial system, the Supreme Court's five conservatives on Monday reversed another 40-year-old precedent. That prompted Justice Steven Breyer, dissenting for the court's four pro-choice liberals, to write in his opinion, "Today's decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the court will overrule next."

"He's worried, and obviously he's not alone," Corbin said. "Millions and millions of women who rely on the right to control their reproduction are worried."

The Supreme Court is currently considering whether to hear three different abortion rights cases for its next term, which starts in the fall. While each case could chip away at abortion rights, none directly call for reversing Roe. But those cases won't be very far behind.