It remains to be seen how the Alabama legislature may react to the likely U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which would overturn the high court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion on demand.
If the leaked draft opinion, authored by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito, reflects the ultimate ruling, the new precedent will leave abortion law up to the individual states.
Immediately upon news of the leak, State House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) indicated the House of Representatives would be prepared to act.
However, Alabama passed a law in 2019, the Human Life Protection Act, also known as House Bill 314 (HB 314), which bans abortion with limited exceptions. A preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson blocked the law from taking effect in October 2019.
That preliminary injunction could be dismissed on the heels of the Dobbs decision, and the Human Life Protection Act would go into effect. The question is if the legislature will act to add additional exceptions, including pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.
During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show," State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine) said he would oppose changes, calling the law a "very courageous and absolute view on when life begins."
"I think the state legislature has taken a very courageous and absolute view on when life begins," Elliot said. "And we have said that that is at conception regardless of how that conception occurs. That is controversial, and that is something that the incrementalists of the world like to look at and say, 'Well, hold on. If it is a certain circumstance, then that should be different.' I don't agree with that, and I think the Alabama Legislature has taken a very courageous stand on this issue. It's one of the most definitive anti-abortion laws in the United States.
"I think it is something we need to go back and tweak only to make sure it applies to what it seems is going to be the ruling. But I don't think we need to tweak so that we back up on what life is. And when life begins."
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