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Reaction varies to Gov. Kay Ivey’s signing of abortion law

Brandon Moseley

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Less than 24 hours after the Alabama Senate passed HB314, the nation’s most restrictive abortion ban, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed this legislation into law.

According to the language in the bill, this ban does not go into effect until six months after it has been signed.

Those who support abortion rights were furious with the governor’s quick signing of the bill.

“By signing this bill, Gov. Kay Ivey and Republicans in Alabama have joined a nationwide coordinated effort to strip women of their constitutional rights, attack their freedom and remove their agency over their own health and economic futures — without even an exception for survivors of rape and incest,” said U.S. Sen. Corey Booker, D-New Jersey, who is also a presidential candidate, in a statement.

“No person should stay silent as women’s human rights are eroded,” Booker added. “And I think it’s particularly incumbent on men — those of us in this presidential race and around the country — to speak out and stand shoulder to shoulder with the women leading the charge. Not because women are our wives, mothers and sisters, but because they are human beings with the right to control their own bodies. And women shouldn’t have to face this fight alone. That’s why I am not only speaking out, but redoubling my determination to protect the rights afforded by Roe, codify those protections in federal law, repeal the Hyde Amendment and end this relentless assault on women’s health and equality once and for all.”

Pro-abortion rights groups have promised to sue the state to prevent the law from going into effect.

“By signing this bill, the governor and her colleagues in the state Legislature have decided to waste millions in Alabama taxpayer dollars in order to defend a bill that is simply a political effort to overturn 46 years of precedent that has followed the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision,” said Executive Director of ACLU of Alabama Randall Marshall. “We will not allow that to happen, and we will see them in court. Despite the governor signing this bill, clinics will remain open, and abortion is still a safe, legal medical procedure at all clinics in Alabama.”

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“We vowed to fight this dangerous abortion ban every step of the way and we meant what we said,” said Planned Parenthood Southeast President and CEO Staci Fox. “We haven’t lost a case in Alabama yet, and we don’t plan to start now. We will see Gov. Ivey in court. In the meantime, abortion is still safe, legal and available in the state of Alabama, and we plan to keep it that way.”

“Politicians should not be getting in the way of a woman and her medical decisions,” U.S. Sen. Bernie Sander, I-Vermont, who is also a presidential candidate. “These are difficult family decisions that governments should not interfere with. These bills and laws are outrageous assaults on women’s rights that have a singular goal: forcing the Supreme Court to take up a case that would overturn Roe v. Wade.”

“Gov. Kay Ivey has signed HB314,” The Yellowhammer Fund said. “THIS BAN will NOT take affect for another six months. Show Kay Ivey that you stand with people who need abortion access.”

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“Gov. Ivey has made a horrible mistake, and it is Alabama women and taxpayers who will pay the price,” said Congresswoman Terri A Sewell, D-Selma. “Shame on the Alabama Legislature and shame on the governor for putting partisan politics above the health and well-being of women in our state and the law of the land.”

Anti-abortion rights groups hailed the actions by Alabama’s Republican-dominated state government

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said, “The legislation passed by the Alabama House of Representatives and State Senate, and now signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey, is a positive step forward in protecting the lives of the unborn, millions of which have been ended since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision in 1973. Our legislators have worked tirelessly on this measure in hopes it will be a ‘test case’ that will ultimately lead to SCOTUS reviewing the Roe decision, one which even the lead plaintiff now wants overturned.”

“The Bible and the medical evidence agree that person-hood begins at conception,” stated The Foundation for Moral Law Counsel Matthew Clark. “In 2018, Alabamians voted to amend their State Constitution to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life. This bill simply brings Alabama law into conformity with the Alabama Constitution. That has been the foundation’s position from the beginning. We hope the Attorney General will defend the law based on human person-hood because if person-hood is established, then the right to abortion collapses.”

Foundation Senior Counsel John Eidsmoe acknowledged that the bill would likely provoke a court challenge.

“The foundation relishes an opportunity to revisit Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion,” Eidsmoe said. “That decision had no support whatsoever in the Constitution, as a growing number of justices have recognized. With Justice Kavanaugh on the bench, the court may now be ready to overrule Roe v. Wade and return authority to protect human person-hood to the state legislatures.”

“I commend Alabama lawmakers for fighting for precious babies and passing this ban on the murder of innocent babies,” said Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver. “Roe v. Wade has already ended the lives of more than 62 million children. While we cannot undo the horrendous damage that decades of legal precedence under Roe have caused. This bill is a significant step toward making the womb a safe place in Alabama again.”

“The state of Alabama is exercising its 10th Amendment rights,” said Congressman Mo Brooks to talk radio host Jeff Poor. “I believe in states’ rights. I’m also pro-life. And with this new Supreme Court, if the purpose is to determine whether Roe v. Wade, which in my judgment violates the 10th Amendment and states’ rights. If the purpose is to challenge Roe v. Wade with this new Supreme Court, I’m confident this bill will do that.”

Birmingham Catholic Diocese Bishop Robert Baker announced his support for the bill back on April 3.

“I strongly support these bills and stand behind the efforts of these legislators to promote life and to, hopefully, in the near future, eliminate this evil we know as abortion from within the boundaries of the state of Alabama, and eventually, to make the killing of unborn children in our country something that is no longer viewed as anything but the horrendous and inhumane killing of the most innocent among us that it is.”

“Alabama is a pro-life state,” Lathan said. “Whenever the issue of ending abortion is put before the voters, it receives overwhelming support. Just this past November when Amendment Two was on the ballot, Alabama spoke up strongly and voted to affirm the sanctity of life. The Alabama Republican Party thanks our Legislators and Governor for hearing the will of the people and acting upon it. Our nation is a republic. Alabama is standing up for ourselves; as our state motto says ‘We Dare Defend Our Rights’. Our state is willing to have this fight in the Supreme Court of the United States for the 60-plus million aborted Americans, including Alabama babies.”

“It’s about time someone had the courage to take a stand against the systematic murder of children in America,” said U.S. Senate candidate and former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville. “Did you know there are 900,000 children aborted in the U.S. each year? It’s true.”

“Future generations may very well look back at the current wave of infanticide sweeping across our nation as this generation’s holocaust,” Tuberville said. “There are those on the far-left who belittle this bill as ‘radical,’ but I would say this — extremism in the defense of life and liberty is ALWAYS the right choice. As for me and my house, we choose LIFE.”

 

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.

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Governor announces auto supplier IAC plans Alabama expansion

IAC is committing $34.3 million in new capital investment to expand its new manufacturing facility located in Tuscaloosa County.

Brandon Moseley

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday that International Automotive Components Group North America Inc. plans to invest over $55.9 million in expansion projects that will create 182 jobs at two Alabama facilities.

“International Automotive Components is a leading global auto supplier, and I am pleased that this world-class company is growing significantly in Alabama and creating good jobs in Cottondale and Anniston,” Ivey said. “IAC’s growth plans show that Alabama’s dynamic auto industry continues to expand despite today’s challenging environment.”

Nick Skwiat is the executive vice president and president of IAC North America.

“Alabama was the logical choice due to its skilled workforce and proximity to the customer,” Skwiat said. “We are excited to see the continued growth of the automotive industry in Alabama and we plan to grow right along with it. We thank the Governor and Secretary Canfield for their leadership in this sector.”

IAC is committing $34.3 million in new capital investment to expand its new manufacturing facility located in Tuscaloosa County. This facility will produce door panels and overhead systems for original equipment manufacturers. That project will create 119 jobs at the production site in Cottondale.

IAC also plans to invest $21.6 million at its manufacturing facility located in the former Fort McClellan in Anniston. That East Alabama project will create another 63 jobs.

This project builds on a milestone 2014 expansion that doubled the size of the Calhoun County facility. There IAC manufactures automotive interior components and systems. Key components produced at the Anniston plant include door panels, trim systems and instrument panels for original equipment manufacturers.

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IAC Group is a leading global supplier of innovative and sustainable instrument panels, consoles, door panels, overhead systems, bumper fascias and exterior ornamentation for original equipment manufacturers.

IAC is headquartered in Luxembourg and has more than 18,000 employees at 67 locations in 17 countries. The company operates manufacturing facilities in eight U.S. states.

“With operations around the globe, IAC is the kind of high-performance company that we want in Alabama’s auto supply chain to help fuel sustainable growth,” said Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield. “We look forward to working with IAC and facilitating its future growth in this strategic industrial sector.”

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Danielle Winningham is the executive director of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority.

“International Automotive Components is a valued part of Tuscaloosa County’s automotive sector,” Winningham said. “We are grateful for IAC’s investment in our community and the career opportunities available to our area workforce as a result of their investment.”

“The City of Anniston is excited that IAC has made the decision to expand here. I have enjoyed working with the leadership at IAC, the Calhoun County EDC, and the state of Alabama to get this project finalized,” said Anniston Mayor Jack Draper. “This is even further evidence that Anniston is indeed open for business.”

Only Michigan has more automobile manufacturing jobs than the state of Alabama. Honda, Mercedes, Hyundai, Polaris, Toyota and soon Mazda all have major automobile assembly plants in the state of Alabama.

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Bill Britt

Opinion | Prisons, justice reform and the art of the possible

Politics is bound by the art of what’s possible. It is also true that those who never dare the impossible rarely achieve even the possible.

Bill Britt

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(STOCK PHOTO)

For years, prison reform advocates, media outlets and even a few public officials have called for new correctional facilities to address Alabama’s dangerously overcrowded prisons.

Now that it’s happening, some aren’t happy with how Gov. Kay Ivey is addressing the problem.

Is the Ivey Administration’s plan perfect? No. But building new facilities along with criminal justice reform — while all imperfect — is the last best hope to correct generations of cruel treatment, endangered correctional officers and corrupt practices.

German chancellor and statesman Otto von Bismarck said “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best,” this is the state of a workable solution to Alabama’s prison needs and criminal justice reform.

Yet, there is a concerted effort underway to stop the Ivey Administration from acquiring three new men’s prisons under a build-lease agreement.

Some lawmakers want another crack at financing additional facilities through a bond issue, and others want more say in the process. Still, the fact is that Ivey’s actions are the result of decades of legislative indifference and inaction to adequately address the appalling conditions at Alabama’s correctional facilities.

Even some advocates are working against the prison plan and while their intentions may be good it seem to their hand wringing is almost as disingenuous as lawmakers whining.

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What’s worse are those who spread disinformation to discredit process.

Many good people have worked hard to bring about an end to the state’s barbaric prison system and unfair justice, but lately it seems there is an outright movement to derail much needed change— simply because it’s not enough. As the saying goes, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

There have been so many false claims and sly manipulations of facts about the prison plan as to make even a hardened journalist want to cry “fake news.”

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But as for Ivey, frankly, my dears, I don’t think she gives a damn.

Here’s the hard truth. The Ivey Administration is building three new men’s prisons, and nothing will stop it. The fact is that three prisons are not enough; the administration should move forward to build a new women’s facility as soon as practicable.

Politics is bound by the art of what’s possible. It is also true that those who never dare the impossible rarely achieve even the possible.

Failing to recognize when the once impossible is coming to fruition is a sad reality. Still, in politics, as in life, good things happen while most people are navel-gazing or complaining.

Having visited three state prisons, St. Clair, Elmore, and Tutwiler, I can say without a doubt, the conditions in those places are a living hell.

A report from the U.S. Department of Justice released in April 2019, found “reasonable cause to believe that Alabama fails to provide constitutionally adequate conditions and that prisoners experience serious harm, including deadly harm, as a result.”

DOJ’s investigation revealed that prisoners were susceptible to “an enormous breath” of sexual abuse and assault but other types of violence as well, including gruesome murder and beatings that went without intervention.

When the state incarcerates a criminal, it assumes custodial care for that individual. No matter how heinous the crime or foul the person, the state has an obligation to feed, clothe, house and provide essential human services for their care and welfare. Another element is often overlooked; when a person is committed to prison, they lose their freedom, not their humanity. Therefore, under the law, they cannot be subject to cruel and unusual punishment.

Building three new men’s prisons is just the start; it must be accompanied by criminal justice reform.

“We are able to have a serious discussion about prison reform in Alabama because we have a governor who is serious about putting solutions into place,” Ivey’s press secretary Gina Maiola recently told APR. “Prison infrastructure is a key part of the equation, but criminal justice reform is also needed,” Maiola said.

By executive order on July 18, 2019, Ivey established the Study Group on Criminal Justice Policy. The Study Group released its findings on Jan 31, 2020.

The Study Group entered its mission with one pressing question; “What policies and programs can the State of Alabama implement to ensure the long-term sustainability of our prison system without jeopardizing public safety?” according to Supernumerary Associate Supreme Court Justice Champ Lyons, Jr., who led the effort.

In a letter to Ivey on the Study Groups finding, Lyons wrote [T]he challenges facing our prison system are exceedingly complex—ranging from the elimination of contraband weapons and drugs to the recruitment, retention, and training of correctional staff to the size of the inmate population and to the physical condition of an aging and far-flung prison infrastructure.” He further wrote, “But having thought through many of these issues with my Study Group colleagues, especially our legislative members, I can report to you that some meaningful answers to this question are not just possible; they are within our grasp.”

Prisons without justice reform is a hollow victory, and the Ivey Administration is committed to bringing about reasonable reforms.

“Prison infrastructure is a key part of the equation,” said Maiola, “but criminal justice reform is also needed.”

The issues facing Alabama’s prisons and criminal justice system are complex, and generations in the making; therefore, arriving at a universally acceptable solution is not imaginable for the moment if ever. But what once seemed impossible is soon to be realized.

No one gets everything they want, but it’s a great step toward getting what is needed simply because it’s possible.

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Governor

Federal judge refuses to temporarily block governor’s mask order

Following the issuing of those orders, the state saw noticeable drops in both COVID-19 positive cases and deaths.

Josh Moon

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Gov. Kay Ivey held a Coronavirus update Press Conference Wednesday September 30, 2020 in Montgomery, Ala. (Governor's Office/Hal Yeager)

A federal judge on Wednesday denied a petition for a temporary restraining order that would have blocked Gov. Kay Ivey’s statewide mask ordinance and a prohibition on large, non-work gatherings.

U.S District Court Judge Keith Watkins said, essentially, that the plaintiffs in the case had waited too long to file the request. In his order, Watkins said that a key component in determining the necessity of a TRO is “a need for speedy and urgent action to protect a plaintiff’s rights” while the case as a whole works its way through the legal system. 

The seven plaintiffs in this case, Watkins noted, didn’t file their complaint until late last month — some five months after the initial ban on large gatherings was issued in May and two months after Ivey, along with State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, issued the mask ordinance. 

The time discrepancy, Watkins said, indicated that there was no “imminent irreparable harm” that could come to the plaintiffs without immediate action. 

“Plaintiffs waited an impermissible amount of time to seek … a temporary restraining order,” Watkins wrote. 

The lawsuit specifically challenges Ivey’s and Harris’s authority to issue health orders that ban all non-work gatherings of more than 25 people, order certain businesses and houses of worship temporarily closed and require that people in public areas in the state wear facial coverings. The plaintiffs claim the orders violate their constitutional rights, specifically their First, Fifth and 14th Amendment rights.

Following the issuing of those orders, the state saw noticeable drops in both COVID-19 positive cases and deaths. So far, the state has more than 140,000 cases and nearly 2,500 deaths.  

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The lawsuit will move forward, with attorneys for Ivey and Harris expected to file a motion to dismiss in the coming days. 

Former Alabama chief justice Roy Moore is representing the plaintiffs.

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Bill Britt

Opinion | Gov. Kay Ivey didn’t cave

Ivey stood her ground on Wednesday, refusing to cave to those who want to end the mask order.

Bill Britt

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Gov. Kay Ivey held a Coronavirus update Press Conference Wednesday September 30, 2020 in Montgomery, Ala. (Governor's Office/Hal Yeager)

Gov. Kay Ivey extended the statewide mandatory mask ordinance on Wednesday despite pressure from her party’s right-wing. Nationally and here in Alabama, many Republicans have complained that any restrictions on their behavior during the COVID-19 outbreak is a violation of their individual liberty.

Ivey stood her ground on Wednesday, refusing to cave to those who want to end the mask order. For most of the COVID-19 pandemic here in the state, Ivey has followed health experts’ advice rather than politicos. Standing up to the Republican Party’s right-wing is not an easy task even in the best of times, but these days, with the party more radicalized than ever, Ivey is taking a huge political risk.

But like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, she hasn’t bowed, she hasn’t bent, and she hasn’t burned.

These are divisive times when even the best of people seem to be at war over the nation’s direction.

“Give me liberty or give me death” may have been a great rallying cry in 1776; it’s less persuasive as a public health policy.

Lately, some Alabama conservatives sound more like the John Birch Society members than the Republican Party of just a few years ago.

“In the name of fighting the coronavirus, more and more state governors are ruling by decree, curtailing freedoms and ordering residents to stay at home,” says the Birch website.

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The Republican Party in the 1960s deemed Birchers dangerous and severed ties with the group. But like 60s racism, Red-baiting and a fear that socialist are lurking behind every corner, all that’s old is new again.

Not surprisingly, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is one of the leading voices in the fight to discredit the Ivey administration’s COVID orders.

Senate President Pro Tem Republican Del Marsh is part of the anti-masker movement and has suggested he’d like to see more people become infected to build the state’s overall immunity to the virus.

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Marsh is certainly not alone; there is a motivated mop of miscreants who sees any restriction as an affront to them doing anything they please. Perhaps they can refuse to wear a seatbelt or maybe light up a cigar the next time they are dinning at the county club and show some real radical resistance.

The truth is many of those who condemn masks as an intrusion on personal freedom would happily compel their fellow citizens to pray at school and stand for the national anthem. They are more than willing to regulate liberties when it contradicts their opinion of what is good and wholesome. But heaven forbid they wear a mask to protect others—that is one regulation too far.

Like a pubescent boy, they live in a fantasy world; without consequences.

Anti-maskers are given to a form of herd mentality, which is part of a broader movement to discredit science for political purposes.

Perhaps the most critical job of a governor or lawmaker is the heath and safety of the public.

Masks protect others more than the wearer, and where the “Golden rule” should apply, it is trampled on just like Jesus’ admonition to love our neighbors as ourselves.

But I suspect that many of those who continuously espouse conspiracies, apocalyptic nightmares, and end time prophecies actually don’t like themselves very much and therefore don’t really care about the shared responsibilities we have toward others.

Writing for Business Insider, George Pearkes explains the four different types of liberty, according to David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed to explain mandatory mask orders.

“Efforts to require masks are a straightforward expression of ordered liberty,” writes Pearkes. “The concept of ordered liberty argues that without structure and a set of rules which are enforced for the common good, society would devolve into chaos.” He further concludes that “Mask orders are quite literally saving society from itself, so that we can be more free than we would if COVID spread even further and faster.”

Ordered liberty can be seen at the heart of Ivey’s policies during the coronavirus plague.

But for anti-maskers, “Live Free or Die” means they are free to do what they want, even if it kills you.

Ivey is putting people ahead of politics. We should wish more would follow her example.

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