Last week, the United States Supreme Court made the greatest decision in its 232 year history when it finally overruled Roe v. Wade. I believe the Court ultimately needs to go one step further and hold that the Equal Protection Clause protects an unborn child’s right to life. While we are not there yet, giving the states the freedom to protect life is infinitely better than what we had under Roe. For now, it is up to each state to decide how to deal with abortion.
Alabama made that decision in 2019, when it passed the Alabama Human Life Protection Act. At the time, it was the strongest pro-life law in the nation, making abortion a Class A felony for any physician who killed an unborn child (subject to very limited exceptions). Now that Roe is gone, the law is in effect. The law has finally given an unborn child’s right to life the protection it deserves.
That is, assuming prosecutors will enforce the law.
In an act of shame, Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr signed a letter written by a George Soros-backed organization and joined by over 80 other district attorneys stating that they would not enforce their states’ laws protecting unborn children from abortion.
District attorneys literally have one job: protecting innocent people by prosecuting criminals. As the popular saying goes, “You had one job!” Seriously: it’s what you were elected to do. So, what’s the problem?
Carr and the other far-left district attorneys who joined the letter said that prosecutors have discretion as to whether to prosecute offenders or not, and they would use their discretion to not prosecute abortionists.
Like most effective falsehoods, this statement is partially true. It is well-settled that prosecutors do have some discretion on how they handle cases, and they can even decline to prosecute people sometimes. However, there are two factors that go into a legitimate decision by a prosecutor not to prosecute.
First, if the law is unclear, the prosecutor necessarily has to use his discretion on how to proceed. That is not the case here; the Alabama Protection of Human Life Act is very clear.
That leaves one other factor that really gets to the heart of the matter: a prosecutor can decline to prosecute when doing so would be fundamentally unjust. Human laws do not always line up with justice, which is established not by a human legislature but by the eternal, immutable, and transcendent laws of God. Hopefully, we can all agree that a prosecutor who refused to prosecute truly innocent people under truly unjust laws should be commended.
But that is completely the opposite of what is going on here. While God has told us in writing, “You shall not murder,” it is such an obvious truth that civilizations across the globe for millennia have all been able to agree that murder is wrong. There is nothing more unjust than the mass murder of innocent people, which is exactly what Carr wants to protect.
Fortunately, Alabama law gives Attorney General Steve Marshall considerable authority to step in and override Carr’s decision. The Alabama Center for Law and Liberty has sent him a letter yesterday urging him to do so. Planned Parenthood still has a facility in Birmingham that might resume abortions if that city is allowed to get away with being a “sanctuary city” for abortion. District attorneys in Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Mobile may follow suit if Carr is allowed to get away with this.
If Marshall does not correct Carr’s dereliction of duty, then we will have a similar situation as we’ve had with gambling. It’s illegal, and the courts have continually held so. But when law enforcement thumbs its nose at the law and lets criminals do what they want, then having a law on paper doesn’t do much good. We definitely don’t want that when it comes to abortion.
When the Constitutional Convention had settled on a form of government in 1787, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin as he came out of Independence Hall whether they had given us a monarchy or a republic. “A republic, if you can keep it,” Franklin famously replied.
In the same way, after Dobbs, the question is what has Alabama law given us: a pro-life state or a pro-abortion state?
Pro-life, if we can enforce it.
Don’t miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.