Lady Gaga has joined the list of celebrities condemning Alabama’s strict new laws virtually outlawing abortions.
Amid furious opposition from women’s rights advocates, the US state’s Senate voted 25-6 for the bill before it was signed off by Republican governor Kay Ivey.
The bill, set to go into effect in six months, will block abortions in the event of rape and incest, with the only exception being when a woman’s health is at serious risk.
Doctors who defy the law could face 99 years in prison, the maximum sentence for a Class A felony.
Alabama’s law sparked a fierce and immediate backlash from opponents, with singer and actress Lady Gaga slamming it as a “travesty”.
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) May 15, 2019
‘In a statement shared to Twitter, she said: “It is an outrage to ban abortion in Alabama, period, and all the more heinous that it excludes those who have been raped or are experiencing incest, non-consensual or not.
“So there’s a higher penalty for doctors who perform these operations than for most rapists? This is a travesty, and I pray for all these women and young girls who suffer at the hands of this system.”
Friends star Courteney Cox was born in the Alabama state capital, Birmingham, and said she was “appalled” by the law.
She said: “I love Alabama and I am proud to call it my home. But today I am appalled and scared. We CANNOT go backwards!”
Cox also urged fans to donate to an Alabama-based pro-abortion charity.
Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon tweeted her dismay, while also condemning similar laws in other states.
I’m beyond upset about the passing of new abortion bans in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, and Ohio. This is Unconstitutional and Abhorrent. We can not tolerate this attack on women’s fundamental rights.
— Reese Witherspoon (@ReeseW) May 15, 2019
She said: “I’m beyond upset about the passing of new abortion bans in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, and Ohio. This is Unconstitutional and Abhorrent. We can not tolerate this attack on women’s fundamental rights.”
Earlier, British actress Jameela Jamil blasted the law as “truly disgusting”.
She had earlier revealed she once underwent an abortion and described it as the “best decision” she ever made.
Other celebrities speaking out included Captain America star Chris Evans, filmmaker Ava DuVernay and actress Alyssa Milano.
The introduction of the law has reignited the incendiary debate around abortion and raised the prospect of the conservative Supreme Court reviewing the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade decision legalising terminations nationally.