by Steven Ertelt
February 12, 2006
Montgomery, AL (LifeNews.com) — The Alabama state House approved the legislation on a unanimous vote, but a state Senator who is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding it up there because he wants to make sure a bill to protect pregnant women and their babies before birth doesn’t impact the state’s abortion law.
Sen. Rodger Smitherman, a Democrat from Birmingham, says he agrees with the bill but his committee won’t consider it until he can get attorneys to look at the legislation and confirm it will not change abortion law.
Smitherman, who supports abortion, told the Associated Press he doesn’t want the measure to be a "back door into the issue of abortion."
However, Spencer Collier, a Republican and the lead sponsor of the legislation, says the bill will not impact abortion.
"This is not about abortion, but the opponents are bringing the abortion issue into it," Collier said.
Like laws in dozens of other states, it makes it a second crime to kill or injure an unborn child in the course of an attack against a pregnant woman.
Pro-life lawmakers and groups are concerned that what happened with the bill last year will happen again. Last year the measure passed the House 93-0 and Smitherman held the bill up in the Senate.
Despite Smitherman’s concerns, the bill has the backing of Attorney General Troy King and Gov. Bob Riley.
"Life is precious, regardless of its stage of development, and deserves equal protection under the laws of this state. I cannot understand why anyone would stand in the way of this legislation," Gov. Bob Riley said, according to an AP report.
One other concern for pro-life advocates is that the Alabama District Attorneys Association is recommending a different bill that would protect only babies who are viable and older than "19 weeks gestation for which there is a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival."
Rile appears to support the House measure instead of that one, according to the AP report.
"Passage of the House version of this legislation is vital to ensuring that all life in Alabama, including unborn life, is protected from violent crime," he said.
The ADAA legislation is also pending in the Senate judicial panel.
TAKE ACTION: Contact your members of the Alabama state legislature and encourage them to support the House-approved measure protecting all women and their babies. Also, contact Sen. Smitherman and tell him to hold hearings on the Collier bill. Contact information is at https://www.legislature.state.al.us