by Maria Vitale Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
January 7, 2006
Montgomery, AL (LifeNews.com) — Legislation that would make it a crime to assault or murder an unborn child appears to have wide support in the Alabama legislature. A majority of the members of the Alabama House and Senate say they expect to support the bill.
Similar legislation passed the House 93-0 in the last session, but never reached the Senate floor.
An Associated Press poll showed that 75 percent of House members and 69 percent of Senators say they anticipate voting for an unborn victims of violence bill.
Support for the bill has been growing since the July shooting of a 23-year-old woman who was eight months pregnant. The Laci Peterson murder case in California also provided impetus for the measure.
Thirty-two states have laws that recognize the unlawful killing of an unborn child as a homicide.
The demise of last year’s legislative effort in Alabama has been blamed on Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham). Smitherman has said he is not opposed to the concept of the bill, but wants additional study in order to determine if it’s a “backdoor” effort to outlaw abortion.
Smitherman told the AP, “I think we have to look at the bill and see how it falls in line with current law as far as the rights that exist for a lady to have a choice. We just want to make sure it does what it says it does.”
Rep. Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) said the legislation would be a priority for Republican lawmakers in the upcoming session.
“It’s at the top of our list. It’s obviously an item that’s very important to us. It’s the right thing to do,” Hubbard told the AP.
The Christian Coalition of Alabama is optimistic about the bill’s future.
“It’s a common sense bill that protects the life of unborn children at the hands of a cold-blooded killer,” said John Giles, the organization’s president.