Late-Night Hosts Take on Alabama Abortion Law, Criticize Men Who Voted for Bill

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert - November 6, 2018 live show  - Publicity 2-H 2018
Scott Kowalchyk/CBS

"That is either an overreach by the Alabama GOP or some pretty intense viral marketing for the new season of 'Handmaid's Tale.' If a TV show has to become reality, why can't it be 'Star Trek' so they can beam me off this planet?" Stephen Colbert joked about the new bill that outlaws almost all abortions.

On Wednesday night, late-night hosts took aim at the Alabama legislators who passed a bill that outlaws almost all abortions.

The GOP-dominated state senate cast a 25-6 vote to make performing an abortion at any stage of a pregnancy a punishable felony. The abortion provider faces up to 99 years to life in prison and the only exception is if the woman's health is at serious risk.

Stephen Colbert kicked off The Late Show by sharing the news with his viewers, which received boos from the studio audience.

"That is either an overreach by the Alabama GOP or some pretty intense viral marketing for the new season of Handmaid's Tale," he said. "If a TV show has to become reality, why can't it be Star Trek so they can beam me off this planet?"

Colbert also touched on the fact that anyone caught performing an abortion will be sentenced to 99 years in jail. "It's 2019, so by the time those doctors get out of jail in Alabama it will be 1895," he said.

The bill makes no exceptions for victims of rape and incest seeking abortions "because the whole point of this law is to establish that a fetus is a person with rights." Colbert responded, "That is a bold interpretation of human development. But on the plus side, apparently women get to vote twice now."

He also noted that all of the votes in favor of the bill came from Republican men. "Though it may be the last time those Republican men will be coming for a while," he joked.

Colbert later explained that the bill is being used to get to the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Many feel confident that the bill has the power to overturn the decision, including Alabama Pro-Life Coalition President Eric Johnston. In a statement to NPR, Johnston said that two new judges may choose to review the bill, while Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's health is still in question.

"So he's pro-life, unless it's Ruth Bader Ginsburg," said Colbert. "Quick, Justice Ginsburg, get pregnant! It's your only chance."

While many people have issues with the lack of exceptions in the bill, Republican Senator Clyde Chambliss said the law only "affects women who are known to be pregnant" and the bill gives women and their partner's a "window of time" to decide to get an abortion.

"So if you find out you're pregnant, the law gives you all the time before you knew that to decide what you want to have done," said Colbert. "That's a great out for any woman whose OB/GYN is Doc Brown."

In an attempt to fight the law, Senator Vivian Figures introduced an amendment to make vasectomies a felony because "there are no laws regulating what a man can do with his body."

After the announcement earned a loud round of applause from the audience, Colbert responded, "Oh, snap. I mean, snip."

Jimmy Fallon also discussed the new law during his monologue for The Tonight Show.

"Today is May 15. It is the day everyone in Alabama set their clocks back 50 years," he said.

After sharing the news, Fallon showed photos of the men that voted in favor of the bill. "It's like if Men's Warehouse had a yearbook," he noted of the men, who are all white. "It looks the world's hardest game of Guess Who."

"Yep, they're deciding women's rights and then they'll pick the nominees for this year's BET Awards," Fallon joked. "So it should be very exciting."

Over on Late Night, host Seth Meyers shared that the law was "intentionally designed to be challenged in the courts in the hopes of appealing to the Supreme Court and overturning Roe v. Wade."

Meyers noted that he hoped the Supreme Court could make a calm and rationale decision, though the thought was interrupted by a clip of Brett Kavanaugh stating, "I liked beer."

The host then groaned in response to Kavanaugh's comments from his hearing against Christine Blasey Ford.

Late Night writer Amber Ruffin later joined the show to discuss the new law. She appeared onstage with a white man behind her, who moved her hand to make it appear as if she was waving.

When Meyers asked Ruffin why a man was standing behind her, she responded, "I no longer have control over my own body. That's what's going on. I want to talk about abortion, but I have to do it like this."

The host said that Ruffin still has control over her body because she doesn't live in Alabama. "But this is where our country is headed," she responded. "So we figured we may as well get some practice."

Ruffin then shared that the bill makes it almost impossible for women to get an abortion and it was created to challenge Roe v. Wade. "It's a scary time to be a woman," she said.

Fellow writer Jenny Hagel, who posed as an audience member, asked if Alabama will help women that want abortions raise their children. Similar to Ruffin, a man stood behind Hagel and controlled her body movements.

Ruffin answered that Alabama has no paid family leave laws.

Writer Allison Hord also made an appearance to answer Meyer's question of what it feels like to be a woman in America.

"It feels like you're not even a person. Like you've been stripped of your humanity. That you're not valued by the men who are elected to serve you," said Hord, who was on the floor. "It makes you wonder where you'll get the strength to fight the battles that need fighting."

When Meyers asked why Hord was on the floor, she responded, "My guy's stuck in traffic."

Samantha Bee also took on the new law during Wednesday's episode of Full Frontal.

"These laws are designed to oppress and control and ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade, and if they succeed, they will directly result in death and poverty for women and other vulnerable people," she said. "But it is especially f---ed up that the people doing the regulating wouldn't recognize a vulva if it bit them in the face."

Bee also joked about the lack of exceptions included in the bill. "Speaking of Alabama, no exceptions for rape and incest is also Roy Moore's dating profile," she said.