A $20 million proposal to put an abortion clinic off the coast of Alabama in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico will not work, according to former U.S. Attorney Jay Town.

During an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show" on Monday, the former U.S. Attorney for Alabama's Northern District said although the act of abortion, prohibited in Alabama by the 2019 Human Life Protection Act, would be committed in federal waters, the host vessel would still be governed by law from the state of which it had departed.

According to Town, the gesture proposed by a San Francisco-based obstetrician and gynecologist and University of California San Francisco professor Dr. Meg Autry was "getting cute with the law."

"Even in San Francisco, they write the law down," Town said. "You know, they don't follow it all the time. They don't enforce it all the time. But they do write them down, to their credit. And if this professor, who has this great idea for this floating abortion clinic, if [she] had taken the time to read the law or maybe call somebody who was an expert in the law, she might have learned that you can't commit crimes in federal or international waters if the host vessel is porting in a certain state.

"If you leave from Alabama or Louisiana or Mississippi or Florida and there are abortion prohibitions in those states that are going to be sort of an end-around out there in the water, when you pull back in, everybody who has participated is guilty of an offense or at least those offenses. You can't get around this. If you want to get around it, you're going to have to get around it by convincing your ballot box to have abortions in your state or to have abortion rights that are expanded."

Town said those who are pro-choice need to win their argument democratically.

"It is a democratic right now," Town explained. "It is not a constitutional right. Getting cute with the law is going to fail. They need to spend their time, the people who are pro-choice, need to spend their time advocating for women's health and the good arguments people on the left make. By good, I mean the ones that could be persuasive to folks in the middle.

"These ideas like this one -- Steve Marshall wouldn't even let the boat go out. He'd have people in handcuffs for an attempt of conspiracy before they even pulled off the dock."

From time to time throughout this country's history, where gambling has been prohibited, there have been casino boats offering trips out to federal waters to gamble. When asked how this was different, Town said it was because those boats had permission from the state of origin.

"Casinos do it in the sense the states permit them to do it," he explained. "But they have a permit from the state in which they dock to go so far out into the water. They don't just do it. They don't do it without any state authority. The state permits them to travel five miles out and then have a floating casino. That's something you're not going to get a permit for from any of those states on the Gulf Coast I mentioned."

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com.

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