Alabama lawmakers are preparing for the day when Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Abortion will not become illegal immediately when Roe is overturned; instead, the power to legislate abortion will return to the states.
On Thursday, the Alabama House passed a bill that would protect unborn babies’ right to life in the event that Roe is overturned; legislators voted 67-14 in favor of the measure, Alabama Media Group reports.
The Associated Press reports the bill would amend the state constitution to declare Alabama a “right to life” state. If the bill passes the state Senate, the amendment also would have to be approved by voters on the 2018 ballot.
Here’s more from the AP:
“We want to make sure that at a state level, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, that the Alabama Constitution cannot be used as a mechanism by which to claim that there is a right to abortion,” said state Rep. Matt Fridy, the legislation’s sponsor.
The proposed constitutional amendment says it would be Alabama’s public policy “to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, most importantly the right to life.”
Fridy disputed any notion that politics were at play and said Alabama is “a pro-life state.” Trump easily won Alabama in November with 62 percent of the vote.
Other states such as Missouri and Utah have approved similar “right to life” measures.
Local Planned Parenthood leaders blasted the legislation, saying it would “completely outlaw abortion.”
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Democrats in the House also expressed concerns about legal challenges, but Fridy said he does not think there will be a legal challenge because the amendment would prohibit abortions only if Roe v. Wade is overturned, according to the local news report.
Many pro-lifers felt hopeful after President Donald Trump promised to nominate “pro-life” justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. Vice President Mike Pence said those justices could pave the way to consign Roe to “the ash heap of history where it belongs.” However, Trump would have to appoint several justices to the high court who are willing to overturn Roe and the Senate would have to confirm them before the infamous abortion decision has a chance of being reversed.
In January, the pro-abortion group NARAL predicted that 13 states have laws or constitutional provisions that immediately would ban abortions if the high court overturns Roe. According to the group, the states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and West Virginia.
However, this is just one of many estimates. In 2012, NARAL itself gave a different prediction, saying 17 states immediately would ban abortions if Roe is overturned. Attorney Paul Linton in the journal “Issues in Law and Medicine” estimated the number of states at somewhere between eight and 11.