Should the legislature seek to modify Alabama's existing abortion laws, there could be state constitutional hurdles to overcome, State Senate President Pro-Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper) said.
In 2019, the legislature passed a bill signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey, deemed the strongest pro-life law in the country, given it prohibited abortion with minimal exceptions.
Most Republican lawmakers who have spoken publicly on the 2019 law, officially called the Human Life Protection Act, have dismissed the possibility of including more exceptions.
Reed told this week's broadcast of Alabama Public Television's "Capitol Journal" that he had been a strong supporter of pro-life policies dating back to his sponsorship of legislation that rejected federal money for state-sponsored abortions.
"That has been my attitude toward abortion and the sanctity of life thing throughout the entirety of my service, all the way to the 2019 legislation, which was very controversial, as you mentioned, but was maybe one of the strongest laws in the nation," Reed said. "And I think the Alabama Legislature and the governor were very definitive on where we wanted that position to be. Now, as is often the case, you look at legislation, you pass it in specific reasons, specific ways. If it needs to be changed and modified, that's something that the legislature will have to look at. We do that related to what we think best in legislative things all the time.
"In this issue, I think you got some challenge in examining how exactly you would do that because this was a constitutional amendment. So, the people of Alabama have voted this is where they feel like this should be. If the legislature looks to modify or change that, then there will be some legal questions. Is there a way to do it? Can you do it? And if you decide that's what you want to do, does it go back to the people for their decision and the like."
Reed said more questions must be answered.
"So, I think what we need to look at as far as timeframe here -- number one, what happens with Roe v. Wade?" he added. "Alabama and our legislature -- we've already done the hard work of standing up for the unborn, focusing on sanctity of life, which is what was most important. We've already done that in our law. Now, what happens with Roe v. Wade and Supreme Court? If that comes back for more decision, we already know our laws will go into effect. Do they need to be modified? Is there some question about it? I think that will be a decision the legislature will have to make. But at the moment, there is a lot to be reviewed and a lot to be done before we ever get to that place."
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