By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY — Alabama’s Senate Republicans are designating Thursday as “Pro-Life Legislation Day” in the Alabama Senate. They plan to consider several bills that would affect assisted suicide and declare Alabama a Pro-Life State.
Three bills are on the Senate schedule for tomorrow: The first would ban assisted suicide in Alabama, the second proposes a constitutional amendment to officially declare Alabama a Pro-Life State and the third would allow healthcare workers to opt out of participating in abortions, according to the bills’ sponsors.
“On Thursday, the Senate will take meaningful steps to protect unborn children and encourage a culture of life in Alabama,” said Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper). “The lion’s share of people in Alabama are unashamedly pro-life and the Legislature is proud to lead the nation in protecting the weak and vulnerable in our society.”
The constitutional amendment would allow the State to implement more pro-life protections if the Supreme Court overturns its landmark abortion decision Roe v. Wade, according to a cosponsor, Sen. Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City).
“President Donald Trump has already appointed a solid constitutionalist to the Supreme Court in Judge Neil Gorsuch. One more appointment could flip the balance of the Court in favor of overruling Roe V. Wade and returning the issue to the states,” Williams said. “A Constitutional Amendment declaring Alabama a pro-life State would put us in a very good position to better protect life if the Supreme Court ever revisits its own disastrous precedent.”
The Republicans are also supporting the bill by Rep. Arnold Mooney that would officially outlaw physician-assisted suicide in Alabama, though it already considered illegal due to court precedent. Participating in an assisted suicide would be considered a Class C felony under his bill.
“Recognizing that a so-called ‘right to die’ can drift easily into a ‘duty to die,’ Senate Republicans will uphold a culture of life in Alabama by voting to ban assisted suicide, reflecting the belief that the lives of the vulnerable are as equally valued as the lives of the young and healthy,” a press release from the Senate GOP Caucus read.
The last bill would allow health care providers and workers to opt out of procedures that would violate their religious beliefs, according to the sponsor, which would include abortion procedures.
“Certain medical procedures are deeply moral questions of life and death,” said Sen. Paul Sanford (R-Huntsville). “A nurse or doctor shouldn’t be punished or fired by an employer for declining to participate in a procedure that violates their deeply-held religious beliefs.”
The three pieces of legislation have been passed by the House already and if passed by the Senate would head to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk for her signature.