Constitutional Amendment in Alabama Would Define Unborn Baby as a Person and Ban Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 24, 2016   |   6:14PM   |   Montgomery, Alabama

Alabama legislators are considering a controversial amendment to the state constitution that would recognize human life at the moment of conception and basically outlaw abortion.

Fox News reports the Alabama House Health Committee debated the amendment on Wednesday but did not vote on it.

The proposal came from state Rep. Ed Henry, R-Decatur, who pointed out that “science makes it clear that [life] begins at fertilization.” His bill would define a person as “any human being from the moment of fertilization or the functional equivalent thereof” in the Alabama Constitution, the Montgomery Adviser reports.

Dr. Jim Belyeu, a pro-life OB-GYN, testified in support of the bill on Wednesday, saying that the unborn child is a “totally separate” entity from the mother.

“The baby initiates the process of implantation,” Belyeu said. “Scientifically, pregnancy has been long recognized at beginning at fertilization, so anything that would prevent implantation would be considered abortion.”

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However, ACLU lawyer Brock Boone spoke out strongly against the bill, calling it an “attack on women” and saying it would ban certain types of birth control as well as abortion, according to the news report.

When Boone said the bill made him “ashamed to be from Alabama,” Henry replied that the state has “open boarders” and he is “free to leave,” according to Fox.

If both state houses pass the bill, it would go on the ballot for Alabama voters in November, the local news report states.

Though a noble effort, the bill is highly unlikely to become law. In 2012, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a similar personhood bill as unconstitutional. Because of the current political climate and the precedents set in the U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, courts would almost certainly strike down the Alabama legislation, too.

The Supreme Court has ruled on personhood amendments previously and indicated they amount to a statement of position on behalf of the state and are not able to ban abortions in and of themselves.

The key to ending legalized abortion is overturning Roe v. Wade, and the current Supreme Court justices are highly unlikely to do so, especially after the unexpected death of pro-life Justice Antonin Scalia. Three of the justices, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and John Roberts, likely would vote to overturn Roe and return abortion laws back to the authority of the states; but the five other justices almost certainly would not. Scalia’s seat on the high court remains empty. Pro-abortion President Barack Obama recently nominated Merrick Garland to the high court, but pro-lifers believe he is pro-abortion and are opposed to his nomination.

To make abortion illegal again, Americans need to elect a pro-life president and U.S. Senators who will put pro-life judges on the high court. This would pave the way for the reversal of Roe and a return to a country that protects every human life.