By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representative Health Committee passed four pieces of Pro-Life legislation aimed at reducing the number of babies killed in abortions in Alabama. The legislation was prioritized by House Health Committee Chairman Jim McClendon (R) from Springville.
HB 490, the Fetal Heartbeat Act, is sponsored by state Representative Mary Sue McClurkin (R) from Indian Springs. Rep. McClurkin said that the legislation, “Would make it unlawful for a physician to perform an abortion on a pregnant woman if a heartbeat is detected on an unborn child.” The bill also requires that abortion clinic keep documentation be kept showing that the fetal heartbeat test was performed.
Alabama State Representative Joe Hubbard (D) from Montgomery asked that the committee adopt an amendment addressing some to the inconsistency between the bills. Rep. Hubbard said that he had a, “Problem with establishing a law that is inconsistent with Supreme Court precedent. I wish you (McClurkin) would work with me on resolving some of the legal issues before it comes to the (House) floor.
The bill was given a favorable report by the committee with bipartisan support.
Next was HB 493 sponsored by Rep. Kurt Wallace from Maplesville. Rep. Wallace said that the Perinatal Hospice Information Act would require that a family that finds out that their child has been diagnosed with a fetal abnormality be given information about Perinatal Hospice and requires a 48 waiting period before that child can be aborted.
Rep. Joe Hubbard said that as the only attorney on the Health Committee he was concerned about the civil liability. Hubbard asked Wallace to work with him on some of those issues before it comes to the floor. Wallace agreed. Hubbard said, “I appreciate you working with me to make a good bill better.”
The bill received a favorable report from the committee with support from Representatives of both political parties.
The Committee also passed HB 494, which strengthens Alabama’s parental consent law. The bill was sponsored by Representative Mike Jones (R) from Andalusia. Jones introduced a substitute bill to the committee. Jones said that the sub struck one sentence to avoid a potential conflict with a past U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Rep. Jones said, “This bill deals with parental consent which has already been upheld by the courts.”
Rep. Hubbard said, “This substitute does not address all of my concerns but it does address many.”
Rep. Berry Forte (D) from Eufaula said that he was going to vote for the bill, but was concerned that the state did not have the money to spend defending controversial legislation in the federal court system.
The Committee also gave a favorable report to HB 489. HB 489 is sponsored by Rep. Ed Henry (R) from Decatur. Henry said that his bill requires that a woman who wishes to have an abortion must be notified of the risk of having an abortion and that that waiting period be extended from 24 hours to 48 hours.
Rep. Hubbard told the committee, “I don’t see any reason to vote no.”
Rep. Joe Hubbard is running for Alabama Attorney General.
All four bills received favorable report from the Health Committee and now go to the full Alabama House of Representatives.
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.”
The Alabama House Republican Caucus said in a written statement afterwards, “Today, House Republicans passed four pro-life bills through the House Health Committee, proving once again that we are dedicated to continuing our four-year record of defending the Right to Life in Alabama. Bills passed through committee were HB490 the Fetal Heartbeat Act (Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin, R-Indian Springs) which requires physicians to check for a detectable heartbeat prior to performing an abortion; HB489 the Woman’s Right to Know Act (Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle) which increases the required wait time prior to performing an abortion from 24 to 48 hours; HB493 the Perinatal Hospice Information Act (Rep. Kurt Wallace, R-Maplesville) which informs a woman whose unborn child has a lethal fetal anomaly of perinatal hospice services; and HB494 (Rep. Mike Jones, R-Andalusia) which toughens parental consent requirements for minors seeking an abortion.”