Alabama state Rep. John Rogers finally issued an apology this week for saying “retarded” babies should be killed in abortions.
At the end of April, the Democratic lawmaker defended killing unborn babies in abortions in the middle of a heated abortion debate. Later, the state House passed a pro-life bill that would ban all abortions and make abortion a felony, putting abortion practitioners responsible for killing unborn children in prison.
“Some kids are unwanted, so you kill them now or you kill them later. You bring them in the world unwanted, unloved, you send them to the electric chair. So, you kill them now or you kill them later,” the Birmingham lawmaker said during the debate.
“Some parents can’t handle a child with problems,” he continued. “It could be retarded. It might have no arms and no legs.”
Initially, Rogers defended his comments, but national outrage prompted him to backtrack on Monday during the Talk 99.5’s “Matt & Aunie Show,” according to Yellowhammer News.
While Rogers did apologize for the “retarded” comment, he did not apologize for saying it is ok to kill “unwanted” babies.
“The r-word is a word that’s old and dates way back to the 1940s. It’s not mentally challenged. It’s a different [meaning] to it now, but I did use it. … I was wrong about the retarded thing,” Rogers said. “I’m shying away from the fact that I used the word retarded.”
He also apologized to Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, for suggesting he should have been aborted after the younger Trump responded with disgust to Rogers’ comments.
“He took a shot at me. I took a shot at him,” Rogers told the local news Monday. “I apologized to him. … I ain’t got no problem doing that in public.”
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Previously, Alabama Senate majority leader Republican Greg Reed, issued a statement in response: “Representative Rogers’ remarks are chilling. ‘Kill them now, or you kill them later’? His comments should be condemned at the state and national level.”
State House Bill 314, sponsored by Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, would make an abortion and attempted abortion a felony. Exceptions would be allowed if the mother’s life is at risk. Mothers would not be punished for having an abortion under the legislation, which would make killing a baby in an abortion a Class A felony — punishable by life or 10 to 99 years in prison for abortionists who kill them.
Collins said the U.S. Supreme Court was wrong in Roe v. Wade, and unborn babies deserve a right to life.
“Just last year, roughly 60 percent of voters across the state ratified a constitutional amendment declaring Alabama as a pro-life state, and this legislation is the next logical step in the fight to protect unborn life,” she said, WDHN 18 reports.
Earlier, she told the Times Daily that she expects a legal challenge, and hopes the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold protections for the unborn.
“With liberal states like New York rushing to approve radical late-term and post-birth abortions, [the] passage of this bill will reflect the conservative beliefs, principles, and desires of the citizens of Alabama while, at the same time, providing a vehicle to revisit the constitutionally-flawed Roe v. Wade decision,” Collins said.
If approved and enforced, the legislation could save thousands of unborn babies’ lives every year. The Alabama Department of Public Health reported 6,768 abortions in 2017.
However, the abortion industry is expected to sue to block the law in court.
“They are trying to tee this up as an opportunity for the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade and its progeny. There are already cases in the pipeline that will get to the Supreme Court long before this does,” said Randall Marshall, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama.
Marshall said the case could cost state taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees, and he cited another case where Alabama taxpayers were forced to pay Planned Parenthood and the ACLU $1.7 million after a court struck down another pro-life state law.
That is a concern for a number of pro-life leaders. Even some pro-life advocates express concerns about the strategy of such legislation, because when states lose these battles, taxpayers often are forced to pay pro-abortion groups’ legal fees.
The abortion industry has succeeded in overturning similar laws in court. In 2012, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a personhood bill as unconstitutional because it recognized unborn babies as human beings who deserve the right to life.
When considering a similar Missouri statute in 1989, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist ruled that the statute was nothing more than a statement of position that had no bearing on banning abortions or even limiting them in any way.
Missouri had approved a statute saying, “the life of each human being begins at conception” and “unborn children have protectable interests in life, health, and well-being.” The statute required that all Missouri state laws be interpreted to provide unborn children with rights equal to those enjoyed by other persons.
There is more hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court may consider an abortion ban, but it is difficult to say if it would for certain – especially after Chief Justice John Roberts recently sided with the liberal justices on an abortion case.