Alabama voters will have the chance to approve a state constitutional amendment in November that says there is no right to abortion.
State Rep. Matt Fridy, a Republican, said he had the future in mind when he proposed the amendment,
according to AL.com. He told the local news that he was thinking about Tennessee where the state Supreme Court ruled that a woman has a “right” to abortion under the state constitution.
That ruling made it basically impossible for Tennessee lawmakers to pass even moderate abortion regulations, such as parental consent for minors or a ban on taxpayer-funded abortions. In 2014, Tennessee voters approved a ballot measure to amend their constitution to make it clear there is no right to abortion.
Fridy said he wants to prevent the same potential court trouble in Alabama.
He told the local news:
“We don’t know from generation to generation what the composition of the Alabama Supreme Court is going to be,” Fridy said. “Things change quickly, and you can look at a lot of issues, even recently, to see significant change, judicial change, that’s come about much faster than anybody had ever anticipated.
“So, to say that the Alabama Supreme Court as presently constituted is unlikely to interpret the Alabama Constitution to provide for a right to an abortion doesn’t eliminate the need for placing in our organic law a manner in which to interpret the constitution as we go forward.”
The proposed amendment says the Alabama Constitution does not protect a right to abortion or taxpayer-funded abortions. It also directs state policy “to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life.”
Eric Johnston, a Birmingham attorney and president of the Alabama Pro Life Coalition, said the amendment could be helpful if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
“If the U.S. Supreme Court ever comes back and reverses Roe, then we’ve got a strong statement of public policy which we then will put into effect by enacting, if the Legislature will do it, a statute that criminalizes abortion,” Johnston said.
Alabama pro-lifers expressed strong hopes that voters will approve the amendment in November.
Meanwhile, a Planned Parenthood branch in Alabama is fighting against it.
“… Alabama politicians have proven time and time again that they will do everything within their power to eliminate women’s access to safe, legal abortion, and this amendment is their latest attempt,” a spokesperson for the abortion chain said. “This constitutional amendment will serve as a mandate to pursue even more extreme restrictions and bans.”
West Virginians will vote on a similar state constitutional amendment in November. The amendment would make it easier for the state to pass pro-life laws, including a restriction on taxpayer funding for abortions. Because of a state Supreme Court ruling, West Virginia taxpayers are required to fund elective abortions for low-income women through Medicaid.