The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report Wednesday to a bill that would ban most abortions in the state of Alabama following a public hearing. The full Senate is expected to consider the bill Thursday.
House Bill 314 is sponsored by state Representative Terri Collins, R-Decatur. Rep. Collins asked the Senate to pass the bill without any amendments.
State Sen. Tom Whatley, R-Auburn, added an amendment to allow abortions if the child was conceived in rape or incest.
Whatley said that he did not believe that the bill could pass the Senate without the amendment.
Collins said that the amendment weakens the bill.
State Senator Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville, is carrying HB314 on the floor of the Senate.
Chambliss bitterly opposed Whatley’s rape and incest amendment and vowed to try to remove it from the bill when the bill is on the floor. Chambliss argued that if we decide that the child in the womb is a person, how can we authorize the killing of the child because of the circumstances or his or her conception.
Chambliss dismissed claims that this bill would take away women’s choice.
“The choice is made when the man and the woman decide to have sex,” Chambliss said. “That is the choice 99 percent time,’ with rape and incest being that one percent.
State Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison, D-Birmingham, is proposing an amendment that would require that the state provide prenatal care, and medical care for the child up to three years after birth.
“I think we already do that through Medicaid, ALL Kids, and CHIP,” Chambliss said, but added that he would consider Coleman-Madison’s amendment.
The bill makes it a Class A felony for a doctor to perform an abortion. The woman would be held blameless.
There is already an exception in the bill to save the life of the mother. The bill bans abortions after implantation. It does not ban the morning after pill. As originally introduced, the bill was the strictest abortion ban being considered in the country.
The ACLU has vowed to oppose HB314 if it passes into law, with or without the rape and incest exception.
“When the Senate Judiciary Committee passed HB314, they sent a message to the state of Alabama that they don’t care about our needs or our rights,” the Alabama ACLU wrote in a statement. “Passing bills that they know will be struck down in federal court are a waste of millions of taxpayer dollars that could be going to address the urgent needs in our communities, like schools, healthcare, infrastructure, prisons and so much more. Ignoring those needs in favor of scoring political points is an irresponsible use of their power and privilege. If the full Senate and Governor insist on passing this bill, they will see us in court.”
The sponsors hope that HB314 is challenged in federal court and that it goes to the U.S. Supreme Court where they hope that the Court will overturn the controversial 5 to 4 1973 Roe versus Wade ruling that legalized abortion throughout the United States.
In November, a majority of Alabama voters voted in favor of a constitutional amendment that would outlaw abortion in the state if and when Roe vs. Wade is overturned.