Nobody was surprised this week when a federal court blocked Alabama’s draconian anti-abortion, anti-choice law. And if anybody, including supporters of the dead law, believes the U.S. Supreme Court is going to take up Alabama’s law, they’re living in la-la land.
We have more than our fair share of la-la land legislators in Alabama, and a la-la land attorney general, and a la-la land governor, and la-la land U.S. House members, so expect the state to spend no telling how much money trying to move this la-la land of an anti-abortion law forward.
They’ll act all Big Ikey and then pout when the anti-choice law loses round after round in the courts. It’ll get the ultimate snub when the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to even consider taking up the case. Alabama leaders wanted so bad to have the bill that the High Court would use to overturn Roe v. Wade, but they clearly underthought the law.
As passed, it prohibits abortion almost completely, the only exception being to save the life of a mother. No exception even for rape or incest. A doctor performing an abortion could be sentenced basically to life in prison (99 years!). But the woman having the abortion wouldn’t be charged with anything, just onefatal flaw in a law with fatal flaws left and right.
My argument after the la-la land Legislature passed the bill and the la-la land governor signed it was that if the High Court did take up Alabama’s awful abortion law, it would be signaling it was going to uphold Roe v. Wade. Alabama’s awful law would give the court’s conservatives cover for upholding Roe v. Wadebecause they wouldn’t have to be against banning abortion; they could simply be against the other constitutional problems Alabama’s la-la land lawmakers wrote into the legislation.
Besides, the Supreme Court has already decided to take arguments on Louisiana’s strict abortion law that requires any doctor performing abortions in the state have hospital admitting privileges at a medical center within 30 miles of where the abortion is performed. While that law doesn’t directly affect Roe v. Wade, it will give us a clear idea where the Supreme Court is headed. Lots of states led by la-la land conservatives have passed other very restrictive anti-abortion laws, but none of them has taken it to the extreme that Alabama did.
Georgia’s “fetal heartbeat” law was also blocked by a federal court, along with most other six-week abortion bans passed by other states. Still, most of those states provided exceptions to save the life of a mother, like Alabama, but also for rape or incest.
A court serious about overturning Roe v. Wade wouldn’t touch Alabama’s law with a 10-foot coat hanger. That certain knowledge won’t stop Alabama officials from spending money to defend the law, though. As with so many issues: “We Dare Defend Our Wrongs.”
Same thing happened in the past on Jim Crow laws, the nasty anti-immigrant law, and other laws that discriminate against human beings but passed by Alabama lawmakers and signed by Alabama governors in mean-spirited, closed-minded assaults.
Not only do we dare defend our wrongs, we also dare to not learn anything from our mistakes. We just keep making them. Again. And again.
“This is judicial activism, pure and simple,” said Clyde Chambliss, the la-la land sponsor if the law in the state Senate after federal district Judge Myron Thompson’s ruling. “In 2018, the people of Alabama overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to declare Alabama a pro-life state, and the Human Life Protection Act was passed by supermajorities in both chambers of the Alabama Legislature.”
Of course, we can be nowhere near a “pro-life” state as long as we continue to execute human beings at almost a whim.
Instead of using scarce tax dollars we frivolously spend on these losing lawsuits, we could improve infrastructure or education orthe prison system or mental health treatment or child and elderly welfare or any number of services our state struggles to provide year in and year out.
But, hey, that’s the way things roll in Ala-la land.
Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected].