Alabama Panel Debates Bill to Ban Almost All Abortions, May Not Get Vote

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 29, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Alabama Panel Debates Bill to Ban Almost All Abortions, May Not Get Vote

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 29, 2006

Montgomery, AL ( — An Alabama state Senate committee on Tuesday held a public hearing on legislation that would prohibit virtually all abortions in the state. The measure would likely get the support of most state lawmakers but a Democratic committee chairman says he doesn’t like it and it may never receive a vote.

Sen. Hank Erwin, a Republican, is the sponsor of the measure that would prohibit all abortions except those extremely rare cases to protect the life of the mother. Abortions in cases of rape or incest would be prohibited too.

Erwin told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, "The most important issue we can deal with in the Legislature is protecting the unborn," according to an AP report.

"I thought if South Dakota can do it, Alabama ought to do it because we are a family friendly state," Erwin said of his bill.

However, opponents of the bill claimed it would only lead to back-alley illegal abortions that would hurt women — even though legal abortions continue to kill and injure women frequently and pose other post-abortion problems.

"Do not think that by banning the procedure that you’re going to eliminate abortions. Do not force women to seek back-alley care," Marcelle Furrow of Montgomery told lawmakers, AP reported.

The Rev. Dan Ireland, director of the Alabama Citizens Action Program, urged lawmakers to approve the bill.

The committee did not vote on the abortion ban and Sen. Rodger Smitherman, a Democrat from Birmingham said he did not like the bill in it current form. He wants rape and incest exceptions added to it.

Erwin, the sponsor, opposes that idea.

"I don’t think you need to penalize the unborn child when something like that happens," he explained.

Rep. Nick Williams, also a Republican, introduced a similar bill in the state House. Both bills have been assigned to committees and would make performing an abortion a felony crime. Only seven days remain in the legislative session and the bills may not get votes in time, but backers say they would file similar measures next session.

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