MONTGOMERY, Ala. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Alabama's preparing a pro-life amendment for their state's constitution that would uphold the rights of the unborn if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
Alabama's House of Representatives on Thursday March 16 passed HB98 by 67–14 vote which reads:
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama ... to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, most importantly the right to life ... and to provide that the Constitution of this state does not protect the right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.
State Rep. Matt Fridy, who introduced the bill, affirmed the constitutional amendment was necessary in the event the High Court sends the issue of abortion back to the states. "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 Fridy.
Fridy explained the current legislation would not countermand federal law but would outlaw abortion in the state if the Supreme Court reverses itself on its 1973 landmark decision that federally legalized abortion nationwide. "The purpose of the bill is to ensure that the Alabama Constitution is never interpreted to provide for rights to an abortion or public funding for abortion."
Fridy added: "This bill does not impact the interpretation of federal law. It restricts our state Supreme Court, or any other court of our state, from finding in the Constitution of Alabama a right to an abortion."
The measure now moves to Alabama's senate. If the senate approves the bill, it will be placed as a referendum on the ballot for the 2018 election of state lawmakers.
Alabama is making these preparations as a response, in part, to the assertions of President Donald Trump, who promised to appoint justices to the Supreme Court that were open to overturning Roe v. Wade. Many believe that Judge Neil Gorsuch, if affirmed, would do just that if the opportunity arose.
Because of the age of several liberal justices seated on the High Court's bench, it's possible that President Trump would get at least one more appointment to the Supreme Court during his presidency. This would make his claim of overturning Roe v. Wade all the more plausible.
Alabama considers itself a pro-life state. The state's Supreme Court ruled last December that unborn children are human beings and thus entitled to legal protection regardless of viability. In his concurring opinion, Alabama Supreme Court Justice Thomas Parker wrote:
Unborn children, whether they have reached the ability to survive outside their mother's womb or not, are human beings and thus persons entitled to the protections of the law—both civil and criminal. It should be all the more intolerable in Alabama, where the express, emphatic public policy of our state is to uphold the value of unborn life.
The U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch begin today.
Watch the panel discuss the sudden advance in pro-life laws around the nation in The Download—Abortion Round-Up.