By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Senator Phil Williams, (R) 10th District (Cherokee, Etowah) has prefiled SB 5 a bill that will define personhood under Alabama law.
According to the bill the term “person” as used in the Code of Alabama 1975, “Shall include all humans from the moment of fertilization and implantation into the womb.”
Williams said, “I am seriously pro-life and believe that life begins at conception.”
Abortion rights advocates say nearly all abortions take place in the first trimester, when a fetus cannot exist independent of the mother and as it is attached by the placenta and umbilical cord. Its health is dependent on her health, and cannot be regarded as a separate entity as it cannot exist outside her womb. They further state that the concept of personhood is different from the concept of human life. This argument stems from the differing ideas of when life is begins. “I reject the notion that you can’t say when life begins,” say Williams.
Williams said, that he is working with Personhood Alabama to craft a bill that would let the people of Alabama vote on a much more effective bill.
Ben Dupre’ the director of Personhood Alabama said, “First of all what we support at Personhood Alabama is an amendment to the Alabama Constitution that would protect all human life from its earliest stage. We are currently working with Senator Williams to introduce a bill that would protect human life from the moment of fertilization, conception.”
Last session, Williams introduced the bill and it passed on a vote in the Senate, it looked as if it would pass in the House but the session ended before a vote could be held. Williams said, “We had the support in the house they just ran out of time.”
Dupre’ said that this organization and others are working with the senator on the details of the bill. Mississippi, recently had tried to pass a similar bill.
Dupre’ said, “We are still working on the particulars of that bill and we are doing so in light of the outcome in Mississippi.” The Mississippi bill did not pass but some have noted that the bill had a few flaws. It didn’t pass, “however, the margin was the smallest that it has been in any state that has voted on it,” said Dupre.’ “So we are encouraged that the bill continues to gain support.
Dupre’ said that personhood continues to garner attention from Planned Parenthood and others who in his words, “See the bill as a threat to those killing babies.”
Mississippi’s bill was opposed by Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health Board, in a statement prior to the vote Board Chair Douglas Laube said in a written statement, “I am an obstetrician/gynecologist, and under Amendment 26 in Mississippi, I would be hard-pressed to help many of my patients. Abortion would be a criminal act. Some of the most reliable and effective forms of birth control could be illegal. And my colleagues who specialize in infertility could have fewer legal options to help women having trouble conceiving.”
Proponents of the bill would dismiss Laube’s comments as a mischaracterization of the bill.
Dupre’ said, “I just want to make it clear that we would endorse an amendment that is principled and protects all human life, and anything less than that we can’t support. But we are confident that our Alabama Senate will support that and that we will see that bill introduced probably next month.”
Williams said, “First, I want to preserve life. Secondly, I want to plant a banner in Alabama saying that we believe in the sanctity of life.”