An Alabama bill that would make aborting unborn babies a felony passed in a state Senate committee today.
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.
The House approved the bill with a life of the mother exception and the Senate panel added rape and incest exceptions by approving an amendment by State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) .
The state House already approved the legislation on a 74-3 vote and now the state Senate is moving ahead with it. Here’s more:
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning voted 7-2 on party lines to give a favorable report as amended to HB 314, the bill sponsored by State Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur) that is aimed at getting the U.S. Supreme Court to re-examine Roe v. Wade on the basis of personhood.
Collins and State Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville), who is carrying the bill in the Senate, argued that adding exceptions for rape and incest takes away from the legal challenge the bill is trying to mount, as the question at hand is whether the baby in the womb is a person and should have rights as such, regardless of how that baby was conceived.
Whatley’s amendment will need to survive a roll call vote by the full Senate before being tacked onto the bill.
Two of the committee’s four Democrats did not attend the meeting. The absent duo were Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) and State Sen. Malika Sanders-Fortier (D-Selma).
“The heart of this bill is to confront a decision that was made by the courts in 1973 that said the baby in the womb is not a person,” Collins said. “This bill addresses that one issue. Is that baby in the womb a person? I believe our law says it is. I believe our people say it is. And I believe technology shows it is.”
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.
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“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.