Yes, it will likely be found to be unconstitutional by lower federal courts.
Yes, it will probably cost taxpayer money that the state cannot afford.
Yes, the upper chamber of the legislature passed the legislation with 25 white, male, Republican state senators.
In a democracy, we get the government we deserve, and that’s why HB 314, named the Human Life Protection Act, is now law.
Alabama voters wanted pro-life leaders in Montgomery. Pro-life elected officials mean Alabama will get pro-life policies. It’s that simple.
In the past, it seemed as if Republican candidates would play the pro-life, anti-abortion card for votes. However, now with an expanded GOP supermajority, the legislature was poised actually to do something.
And boy did they.
The legislation sponsored by State Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, criminalizes abortion and offers no exceptions, including rape or incest. It passed both chambers and was signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey.
The goal: challenge the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision using the exact language it used and establish the baby in the womb as a person. Once personhood is established, the “person” in the womb gets 14th Amendment protections — the rights to life, liberty and property.
If exceptions are granted for rape and incest, the personhood argument is undermined.
Why now? First, consider this is the first year of a new quadrennium. Now is the time when big things are passed by the legislature. The next opportunity might not come until 2023.
Also, consider the current make-up of the Supreme Court. What might it look like by the time the Alabama law makes it through the lower courts and available for the Supreme Court to take up if it so chooses?
It was now or never.
Traditionally, Republicans had been OK with an incremental approach to getting at Roe v. Wade. But they may have had their hand forced as some states like New York and Virginia look to be headed in the other direction by legalizing late-term abortion.
Alabama and a handful of other states have decided to go on the offensive, and here we are back in what seems to be the never-ending saga of the abortion debate.
Since 1973, society has evolved. We’ve become less rigid on social issues with the one big exception being abortion.
That’s perhaps attributable to the Supreme Court determining abortion to be legal and not through the act of a legislature or Congress. All these years since 1973, it continues to be a hot-button issue with emotionally charged activists on both sides.
Can this go on forever, or can we as a people get to a point where there is no longer ambiguity and to a place where not everyone has to agree, but where everyone can accept it?
The Roe v. Wade decision was unable to accomplish that. As technology has improved, we find that the legal reasoning in the opinions supporting the decision are potentially faulty and vulnerable to challenges from not only Alabama but a handful of other states.
As long as it is the will of the voting public in those states to challenge a flawed decision, there is no reason to expect statehouses across the country to not try to overturn the 1973 court’s decision.
Unfortunately for Alabama, it has come at a cost. The national media and even NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” have portrayed the test-case law as an effort spearheaded by 25 country bumpkin-type theocratic politicians, which is hardly the case.
The legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives and sponsored by Collins, a female. It was signed into law by the state’s second female governor, Ivey.
According to U.S. Census estimates, there are roughly 140,000 more women in Alabama than men. Those 25 white, male, Republican senators are part of a state senate supermajority voted into power by a majority-female population.
You would never know that based on the coverage from AL.com or the Montgomery Advertiser.
It is not as if those before-mentioned outlets saw this coming. During the election in 2018, the state’s media seemed focused on Ivey’s health, Medicaid expansion, Confederate monuments and the lottery.
The only time abortion was mentioned was as it pertained to a referendum for a state constitutional amendment proclaiming Alabama as a pro-life state, which many in the media dismissed as a get-out-the-vote gimmick for Republicans.
Republicans in the state house were caught flat-footed with the nationwide and statewide backlash. As of right now, there seems to be a reluctance for any state leader to take a prominent role in defending the law.
Even with a female governor that signed the bill and a female legislator who initially pushed the bill, the national media have successfully made the 25 GOP state senators that voted for the bill the face of the bill.
They probably should have seen that coming.
The abortion ban is what the people of Alabama wanted. Politicians campaigned on the issue. People voted for those politicians. Alabamians wanted it. They earned it, and they deserve it.
Forget what you think about the abortion issue. If you believe every state has its own identity, the people of Alabama spoke in 2018, and our lawmakers acted accordingly.
You don’t have to agree with that, but you should respect it.
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