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House Considers Pro-Life Bills

Brandon Moseley



By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Wednesday the Alabama House Health Committee, chaired by Representative Jim McClendon (R) from Springville, held a public hearing on four bills related to abortion.  Predictably, Pro-Life advocates and Pro-Choice advocates were both on hand to state their cases for and against the proposed legislation.

Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin (R) from Indian Springs is the sponsor of the Heartbeat bill, HB490, which bans performing abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Rev. Joe Godfrey, the executive director of Alabama Citizens Action Program (ALCAP) spoke in favor of the bill.  Godfrey said that if you have a heart beat and you still make the decision to abort the child you are making the decision to pull the plug.

Meg Tillman from Huntsville spoke in opposition to the bill.  She said that a heartbeat is not a right to personhood.  She said that she was concerned that if this bill is passed doctors who perform abortion would leave the state of Alabama.

Opponents of the legislation said that with the right equipment a fetal heart beat can be detected as early as six weeks.  The critics claimed that this bill would effectively abolish all abortions in Alabama.  They also were concerned that the requirement that abortion clinics store the information would be too harsh a burden on the clinic operators.

Rep. Ed Henry (R) from Decatur said that every legitimate medical facility in Alabama can already store this information.

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Rep. Henry is the sponsor of HB 489 which would require that women contemplating an abortion be provided with more information and stipulates at least a 48 hour waiting period prior to an abortion. Alabama Citizens for Life said in a written statement that they are, “In favor of providing women seeking abortion as much objective medical information as possible and would like to see women given a list of where they could obtain a free ultrasound as part of informed consent prior to scheduling an abortion.”

Rev. Godfrey said, “Nobody is discussing the rights of the child.  I am grateful for politicians that are willing to make a stand,” for unborn children.  “What you are doing is protecting the rights of people who will contribute to society who otherwise might be killed.”

Jo Anne Cummings said that she found all four of these bills very troubling.


Rep. Jones sponsored HB 494 which strengthens the requirement that minors must have consent before they can have an abortion in the state of Alabama.  Rep. Jones said that his legislation would require that the parent actually bring the minor in for an abortion rather than the minor simply show up at a clinic with a signed consent form.  It also requires that the parent provide proof that they are actually the parent, such as the birth certificate.

Rep. Jones said, “This is so the 40 year old boyfriend doesn’t claim to be the parent of the 16 year old girlfriend.”

There are also a pathway for the minor to get permission for the abortion from their county court.  Jones said this is necessary because “There are situations where a minor might have reason not to get parent consent.”

The bill’s critics told the Health Committee that this is the incremental chipping away at the rights to an abortion.

Rep. Kurt Wallace (R) from Maplesville is the sponsor of the Perinatal Hospice bill, HB493.  It would provide compassionate option information to families for severe fetal anomalies through providing perinatal hospice services.

Pat Harris opposed that bill as well.  She said, “I am real confused about this bill.  It just seems to be putting parents on a guilt trip.  No one has addressed the pain that these children suffer throughout their lives.”

Joe Godfrey said, “We do support this bill.  I worked in close connection with families that brought in Hospice and for this to be expanded is a great opportunity to show mercy and kindness.”

Rosalyn McDermott from Huntsville said, “All four of these bills are attempts to limit women’s rights to an abortion and there will be challenges like there was to last year’s bill.”

Alabama Citizens for Life said in a written statement, “Thank you also goes to Rep. Jim McClendon for prioritizing the bills respecting innocent human life by scheduling a vote for next Tuesday Feb 25th on the above measures.”

Longtime Pro-Life advocate Cheryl Ciamarra (R) told the Alabama Political Reporter afterwards, “The ACLU was opposed to every one of those bills. Why would they be opposed to giving women more information?”  Mrs. Ciamarra is running for state representative in Alabama House District 43 where incumbent Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin is retiring.

The Vice President of Public Policy for Planned Parenthood Southeast, Nikema Williams wrote in a prepared statement afterwards, “Politicians in Alabama continue to attack women’s health care, when they should be expanding it.  These bills are part of a larger extreme agenda to restrict all abortions under any circumstances in the state.”

Republican Party Chairman Reince Preibus wrote recently, “Despite Democrats’ rhetoric, Republicans actually stand with the majority of Americans on many important life issues. For example, a majority of Americans disapprove of late term abortions, but Democrats, especially President Obama, take the extreme position of supporting them. Republicans at the state and national level have worked to enact protections for life after 20 weeks of pregnancy, but Democrats by and large have opposed them—and therefore opposed the majority of Americans. Most Americans see these protections as reasonable and the right thing to do.  Moreover, polling in recent years shows Americans support a range of other pro-life policies: 87 percent support informed-consent laws; 71 percent support parental consent laws; 69 percent support a 24-waiting period; 64 percent support banning partial-birth abortion.”

The Alabama Citizens for Life Pro-Life Legislative Rally has been set for Tuesday Feb. 25th.  The Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives House Mike Hubbard (R) from Auburn will be speaking at the rally this year as well as Senator Scott Beason (R) from Gardendale.  Sen. Beason is running for Congress this year in Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.



Study: COVID-19 infection rates more than double without lockdowns

Infection and fatality rates would have been higher without stay-at-home orders, a new UAB study found.

Micah Danney




New research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham says that if there had been no stay-at-home orders issued in the U.S. in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the country would have experienced a 220 percent higher rate of infection and a 22 percent higher fatality rate than if such orders were implemented nationwide.

Seven states never imposed stay-at-home orders, or SAHOs. The study analyzed daily positive case rates by state against the presence or absence of statewide SAHOs between March 1 and May 4, the period when such orders began to be implemented. Twelve states lifted their SAHOs before May 4.

The researchers defined SAHOs as being in effect when a state’s governor issued an order for residents of the entire state to leave home only for essential activities and when schools and nonessential businesses were closed.

“During March and April, most states in the United States imposed shutdowns and enacted SAHOs in an effort to control the disease,” said Bisakha Sen, the study’s senior author. “However, mixed messages from political authorities on the usefulness of SAHOs, popular pressure and concerns about the economic fallout led some states to lift the restrictions before public health experts considered it advisable.”

The research also sought to determine if the proportion of a state’s Black residents was associated with its number of positive cases. It found that there was.

“This finding adds to evidence from existing studies using county-level data on racial disparities in COVID-19 infection rates and underlines the urgency of better understanding and addressing these disparities,” said study co-author Vidya Sagar Hanumanthu. 

The research can help advance a greater understanding of racial disparities in the health care system as a whole, and help leaders make future decisions about shutdowns as the virus continues to spread, Sen said.

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“While the high economic cost makes SAHOs unsustainable as a long-term policy, our findings could help inform federal, state and local policymakers in weighing the costs and benefits of different short-term options to combat the pandemic,” she said.

The study was published Friday in JAMA Network Open.

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Jones to attend Auburn student forum, Tuberville hasn’t yet responded to invitation

Jones has agreed to attend the forum, but it was unclear whether Tuberville planned to attend.

Eddie Burkhalter



Sen. Doug Jones, left, and Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville, right.

The College Democrats at Auburn University and the College Republicans at Auburn University have asked U.S. Senator Doug Jones, D-Alabama, and his Republican opponent, Tommy Tuberville, to attend a student forum on Wednesday.

“We are excited to invite the candidates running for our U.S. Senate seat and provide this opportunity for any Auburn student to hear directly from them, and we hope it will inform our student bodies’ decisions with the November 3rd election only days away,” said Carsten Grove, president of the College Democrats at Auburn University, in a statement.

Jones has agreed to attend the forum, Auburn University College Democrats confirmed for APR on Sunday, but it was unclear whether Tuberville planned to attend. The student organization  was still awaiting a response from Tuberville’s campaign.

Jones has for months requested Tuberville join him in a debate, but Tuberville has declined.

“AUCR takes great pleasure in coming together with AUCD to co-host the Alabama Senate candidates in this forum. We are looking forward to a very informative and constructive event,” said Lydia Maxwell, president of the College Republicans at Auburn University.

Dr. Ryan Williamson, assistant professor of political science, is to emcee the forum, which will be open to all Auburn University students in the Mell Classroom Building at 6 p.m., according to a press release from the College Democrats at Auburn University.

Students will be permitted 30 seconds to ask a question of either candidate, and each candidate will have two minutes to answer, according to the release.

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Capacity at the forum will be limited and precautions taken due to COVID-19. Any student with an Auburn ID is welcome and attendance will be first come, first served.

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122,000 Alabamians could lose health coverage if ACA is overturned, study finds

President Donald Trump’s administration and 18 states, including Alabama, are asking the country’s highest court to strike down the law. 

Eddie Burkhalter




At least 122,000 Alabamians and 21.1 million in the U.S. overall would lose health coverage if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act, according to a recent study. 

The Washington D.C.-based think tank Urban Institute’s analysis found that Alabama’s uninsured rate would increase by 25 percent if the court strikes down the Affordable Care Act. Oral arguments in a case against the landmark health care law are to begin on Nov. 10.  

President Donald Trump’s administration and 18 states, including Alabama, are asking the country’s highest court to strike down the entire ACA. 

Trump, speaking to CBS News’s Lesley Stahl in a recent interview, said he would like the Supreme Court to end the ACA. There’s concern among many that Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the court, conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett, could be a deciding factor in the repeal of the ACA when the Supreme Court hears the case just after the Nov. 3 election.

“I hope that they end it. It’ll be so good if they end it,” Trump told Stahl.

“Repealing the ACA would throw our health care system into chaos in the middle of a pandemic and a deep recession,” Alabama Arise executive director Robyn Hyden said in a statement. “Tens of thousands of Alabamians would lose health coverage when they need it most. And hundreds of thousands would pay more for coverage or lose protections for their preexisting conditions.”

Health care coverage losses could be even larger next year, as the COVID-19 pandemic and recession likely still will be ongoing, according to the study. 

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“The ACA has been a health lifeline for many Alabamians during the pandemic,” Hyden said. “It provides coverage options for people who have lost their jobs or seen sharp reductions in their income. And it ensures people aren’t denied insurance just because they got sick.”

Ending the ACA would also reverse gains made in reducing racial disparities in health care coverage, researchers in the study found, noting that overturning the ACA would strip health coverage from nearly one in 10 Black and Latino Americans under age 65, and more than one in 10 Native Americans nationwide would lose health insurance. 

People with pre-existing conditions would be charged higher insurance rates, or have their coverage dropped altogether, if the ACA is struck down, according to the study, which also found that the law’s repeal would harm people who have health insurance through their jobs. 


Those who have health insurance from an employer could see their plans reintroduce annual and lifetime coverage limits, and requirements for plans to cover essential benefits and provide free preventive services would disappear, according to the study, as would the requirement for insurers to allow young adults to be covered through their parents’ plans.

While millions would lose health care if the law is repealed, the country’s top earners would receive tax cuts, according to a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which found that the highest-income 0.1 percent of households, which earn more than $3 million annually, would receive tax cuts averaging about $198,000 per year. 

“A portion of these tax cuts — about $10 billion per year — would come at the direct expense of the Medicare Trust Fund, since the additional Medicare tax the ACA instituted for couples with earnings over $250,000 flows to the fund,” the Center of Budget and Policy Priority study reads. 

Pharmaceutical companies would pay $2.8 billion less in taxes each year, according to the study, while millions of seniors would pay billions more for prescription drugs due to the gap in Medicare’s prescription drug benefit if the ACA is repealed. 

“The ACA has left Alabama better equipped to fight COVID-19 and rebuild our economy after the recession,” Hyden said. “And those benefits would be even greater if Alabama would adopt Medicaid expansion.

“Striking down the ACA would harm the Alabamians who have suffered the most during the pandemic and the recession. It would deprive our state of the opportunity to save lives and strengthen our health care system by expanding Medicaid,” Hyden continued. “And it would shower huge tax cuts on rich people while making life harder for everyone else. Alabama officials should stop seeking to undermine the ACA and start investing in a healthier future for our entire state.”

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Two military pilots killed in plane crash in Foley

The plane crashed around 5 p.m. A house and two cars on the ground were hit in the crash.

Brandon Moseley



Navy Lt. Rhiannon Ross, age 30, of Wixom, Michigan, died when her T-6B Texan II trainer aircraft crashed. Also killed was Coast Guard Ensign Morgan Garrett, a 24-year-old student aviator.

A Navy pilot and a Coast Guard student pilot were killed on Friday when their Navy T-6B Texan II training airplane crashed into a home in Foley. No one in the house was killed.

Commander Zach Harrell, a public affairs officer with Naval Air Forces, said that the plane crashed around 5 p.m. A house and two cars on the ground were hit in the crash.

“It is with a heavy heart that we mourn two of our pilots who lost their lives during an aircraft crash in Alabama today,” the chief of naval air training said in a Twitter post. “Our deepest sympathy goes to their family and friends at this difficult time. Rest in peace, Shipmates. We have the watch.”

Navy Lt. Rhiannon Ross, age 30, of Wixom, Michigan, died when her T-6B Texan II trainer aircraft crashed. She was a Navy instructor pilot, officials announced on Sunday. Also killed was Coast Guard Ensign Morgan Garrett, a 24-year-old student aviator.

Ross earned her commission in April 2012. Before joining the Florida-based Training Squadron Two in February 2018, she served three years with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26 out of Norfolk, Virginia.

Garrett was from Weddington, North Carolina, and was a 2019 Coast Guard Academy graduate.

“Their spirit, friendship, and devotion to their country will not be forgotten,” Navy officials said in a Sunday news release.

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Ross was a member of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor’s Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps, according to her Navy career bio. Her personal awards include a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.

Friday’s accident marked the Navy’s first aviation-related fatality in more than a year.

“The incident is currently under investigation,” Harrell said. “The Navy is cooperating fully with local authorities.”


U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, said on Twitter, “Very sad to hear about the Navy trainer aircraft that crashed in Foley. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the two service members who lost their live.”

Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama, said, “As we await additional information, I hope you will join me in praying for the victims and their families. According to the Baldwin County Sheriff’s office, the plane was a US Navy aircraft.”

A home caught fire after the plane crashed but the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office also said no one on the ground was injured.

The T-6B Texan II is a tandem-seat, turboprop aircraft primarily used to train Navy and Marine Corps pilots, according to the Navy.

There are 245 T-6Bs based at the Navy’s two aviation training bases, Naval Air Station Whiting Field, outside of Pensacola and Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas. The airfield is about 45 miles from the crash site.

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