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Ainsworth defends actions on abortion bill, says “abortion is murder”

Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth.

Thursday, the Senate voted to strike a controversial amendment from a pro-life bill that would ban abortion in the state of Alabama.

House Bill 314 is sponsored by State Rep. Terry Collins, R-Decatur. It is being carried by State Sen. Clyde Chambliss in the state Senate.

On Wednesday, the Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report but added a rape and incest exception to the bill to get it out of committee.

On Thursday, the state Senate erupted into shouting and chaos after the body stripped that amendment from the bill. Senate Democrats accused Ainsworth of gaveling too quickly to strike the rape and incest amendment from the bill. “I didn’t even hear the motion even come out of the senator’s mouth before the lieutenant governor started gaveling it through,” Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, told reporters at a press conference. “He rushed it before the man even get the motion out his mouth.”

Will Ainsworth denied acting improperly,

“Since taking the gavel, I have always followed both the spirit and letter of the Senate rules, and I will continue that practice as long as I am presiding officer,” Ainsworth said in a statement. “It is important that we pass this statewide abortion ban legislation and begin a long overdue effort to directly challenge Roe v. Wade.”

“Abortion is murder. Those three simple words sum up my position on an issue that many falsely claim is a complex one,” Ainsworth said. “Now that President Donald Trump has supercharged the effort to remake the federal court system by appointing conservative jurists who will strictly interpret the Constitution, I feel confident that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn Roe and finally correct its 46-year-old mistake.”

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“By ratifying a constitutional amendment declaring Alabama a pro-life state, offering generous tax incentives to families who adopt, and pushing legislation that gives a voice to the voiceless, I am proud that Alabamians are leading the nation in protecting unborn life,” Ainsworth concluded.

The Senate removed the amendment, which allowed the killing of the unborn if the mother claimed that the child was conceived through rape or incest, and then the Senate erupted into chaos with Democrats and some Republicans shouting that the measure had been rushed by the Lt. Governor.

On Saturday, state Senator J.T. “Jabo” Waggoner, R-Vestavia Hills, told the Mid-Alabama Republican Club (MARC) that, “The rape and incest is the hot button. In my opinion it will pass without that amendment.”

Last year, Alabama voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of a constitutional amendment that would outlaw abortion if the controversial 1973 Roe versus Wade decision were ever overturned.

HB314 does not wait for a “triggering” event like the overturning of Roe v. Wade. It makes abortion a felony in Alabama. A woman would be held blameless; but the doctors and nurses who perform an abortion in the state would be charged with a class A felony and could spend decades in an Alabama Corrections facility. The passage of HB314 and its signing by the governor is a direct challenge to the Roe v. Wade decision. Sponsors hope that the bill will lead to the U.S. Supreme Court re-considering Roe v. Wade; much like the court reconsidered the Plessy v. Ferguson decision that upheld segregation.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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