Anti-abortion rights activists have generally agreed that women who undergo the procedure should not be punished. But the issue is coming into renewed focus as some states are considering new legislation to place curbs on abortion — or even ban it altogether.
"We believe that pro-life legislation should be aimed at protecting the baby, protecting the mother and punishing the abortionist," said Matt Lamb, director of communications at Students for Life of America.
Anti-abortion groups like The National Right to Life have long opposed punishments for women. A statement on the organization’s website reads, "Penalties should be imposed against any abortionist who would take the life of an unborn child in defiance of statutes prohibiting abortions.”
But not all members of the community are united on how to approach abortion providers.
"I believe there should be an opportunity for everyone to have an awakening, a change in perspective, a paradigm shift," said anti-abortion activist Alveda King. "And when they do, that should be accepted and just be the end of it."
Alabama’s state legislature passed a law criminalizing almost all abortions. While doctors who perform the procedure could face up to 99 years in prison, women who undergo the procedure cannot be prosecuted.
Similar laws, being passed in conservative statehouses across the country, could ultimately lead to legal challenges to Roe v. Wade. And abortion rights groups have expressed fear that it could be overturned following the confirmation of two conservative Supreme Court justices appointed by President Trump.