The Latest: Sen. Doug Jones calls abortion ban 'shameful'

Kay IveyThe Associated Press
This photograph released by the state shows Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signing a bill that virtually outlaws abortion in the state on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, in Montgomery, Ala. Republicans who support the measure hope challenges to the law will be used by conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion nationwide. (Hal Yeager/Alabama Governor's Office via AP)

The Latest on developments related to Alabama's strictest-in-the-nation abortion ban (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Doug Jones is calling his state's new abortion ban "shameful."

Jones told reporters Thursday that the legislation uses rape and incest victims as "political pawns." He is Alabama's only Democrat in statewide office.

The Alabama legislation signed into law Wednesday would make performing or attempting to perform an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony. The ban does not allow exceptions for rape and incest.

The ban takes effect in six months. However, supporters acknowledge that they expect the ban to be blocked by lower courts. But they hope the legal battle will eventually go before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jones said the state has pressing needs and should be taking steps to improve health outcomes.

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10:30 a.m.

Opponents of Alabama's new abortion ban plan a Sunday afternoon rally at the state Capitol. 

Organizers of the March for Reproductive Freedom say "people should have the right to make the decisions that are best for their bodies without state interference."

They plan to march to the Capitol steps at 4 p.m. on Sunday. Similar marches are planned in Birmingham and Huntsville.

The Alabama law would take effect in six months, but legal challenges are certain to hold it up. If ultimately found constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, it would make it a felony to perform an abortion at any stage of pregnancy. 

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10:10 a.m.

Leading U.S. physician groups are denouncing strict anti-abortion measures adopted or proposed in several states, saying they interfere with doctor-patient relationships and would criminalize legal procedures.

The American Medical Association's president, Dr. Barbara McAneny, says the group supports access to abortion and "strongly condemns" government interference that compromises the ability of doctors to help patients choose options for medically appropriate treatment.

McAneny issued a statement after Alabama's governor signed the nation's most restrictive abortion law on Wednesday. It would expose abortion providers to life in prison if it overcomes legal challenges.

Six other major medical groups issued a joint statement raising similar concerns on Thursday. They are the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Osteopathic Association.

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9:30 a.m.

Alabama's Republican governor has now signed the most stringent abortion legislation in the nation, making performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases, punishable by up to life in prison, and with no exceptions for rape and incest.

Gov. Kay Ivey said the law she signed Wednesday is a testament to the belief of many supporters that "every life is a sacred gift from God."

Democrats and abortion rights advocates call it a slap in the face to women.

The law faces certain legal challenges on a journey to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Republicans hope President Donald Trump's appointees will reverse Roe v. Wade and criminalize abortion nationwide.

Evangelist Pat Robertson is among those who think it's a mistake, calling the Alabama law too "extreme" and likely to lose.

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