The United States Supreme Court landmark overturning of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey has been well documented and debated since even before the most recent cases were argued and the leak was revealed. Both of those cases prohibited states from restricting abortion by (falsely) asserting a constitutional right to abortion due to the right of privacy. Justice Alito methodically reviewed all the claims made by the pro-abort forces and demonstrated beyond reasonable debate that the Constitution contains no right to an abortion. There never was one; a wrong has been righted.
Before the wrong (Roe), states could limit abortion however their citizens deemed best. That ability has returned to the states and there is plenty to say about that and plenty of work still to be done. However, it’s worth noting that it is extraordinarily unusual for any governmental entity to willingly yield power. The majority of the Court admitted that they wrongly took away power from the people and their legislators and gave it back. Admittedly, it took 50 years and the lives of 63 million innocents before it was returned; we should take note of that as well.
To be clear, the Court’s decision didn’t outlaw abortion, but the federal government won’t be able to stand in the way of states making their own laws regarding abortion. Going forward, June 24th will be marked as a victory for the right to life, but it should also be marked as a victory for the rule of law. We’re a nation of laws, not of men. As such, we should insist that laws be made only by those having specific authority to do so. Thus, even those who support abortion should support the Supreme Court decision (unless they aren’t actually fans of personal freedom or self-government).
When a governmental entity imposes a law through illegitimate means, we should oppose it. Every single time. COVID-19 mitigation dictates by unelected bureaucrats during perpetual states of emergency suddenly leap to mind. Funny how the “my body my choice people” have returned to shamelessly shame those who dare defend an unborn child’s right to live. I missed them during the two years of forced masks, lockdowns, and shot mandates. Oh, but that’s right - the ability for Alabamians to kill their unborn was protected along with the liquor and big box stores during that pesky perpetual state of emergency/forced quarantine from Alabama’s State Health Officer and Governor.
Post Roe, what happens in Alabama? Attorney General Steve Marshall issued a cease-and-desist order for abortion facilities in the state and procedures have halted.
Additionally, you might remember voting for an Alabama constitutional amendment affirming the right to life in 2018. The text is as follows: “To declare and otherwise affirm that it is the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, most importantly the right to life in all manners and measures appropriate and lawful; and to provide that the constitution of this state does not protect the right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” That proposed amendment passed the Alabama House on March 16, 2017 (67-14) and Senate on April 20, 2017 (25-7). Final passage in the House was April 25, 2017 (73-24).
On November 6, 2018, Alabama voters approved the amendment (59% to 41%). In short, Alabamians believe and support the rights of unborn children over any perceived rights to abortion. That was a strong message.
Alabama passed the Human Life Protection Act overwhelmingly in 2019. The bill passed the Alabama Senate (25-6) and House (74-3) and was signed by Governor Ivey on May 15, 2019. It was slated to take effect in November of 2019 but was held up because of Roe/Casey. Now that Roe is gone, what will the 2019 law do?
The law asserts the value of all unborn children while still allowing for some exceptions.
The law bans abortion in Alabama, except in cases where there are lethal fetal anomalies, or where an abortion is deemed necessary to save the life of the mother.
The law does not allow for an exception for rape or incest. That seems to be a hang-up for some, but it was fully debated as the bill was legislated. From a moral standpoint, the law asserts that an unborn child is a person, regardless of the circumstances of conception. Evil begetting evil will not heal wounds or pain.
The law does not ban procedures to end ectopic pregnancies or procedures in connection with stillbirths.
The law does not address miscarriages, and it does not punish women who have them or those who seek abortion procedures.
The law does allow for the punishment of doctors or others who break the law to perform an abortion and makes an abortion procedure a Class A felony.
Ours is a very strong pro-life law in a very strong pro-life state.
Advocates and lawmakers in Alabama have already accomplished the ability to protect the unborn within our state borders. We should be thankful for those who have done that work on behalf of the unborn. The road has been long and they have been faithful.
Alabamians have demonstrated that we want to protect life in the womb with the 2018 constitutional amendment and 2019 state law.
Any attempt to change the Human Life Protection Act would be to weaken it and should be rejected.
Stephanie Holden Smith is an experienced policy analyst, political commentator, and public speaker. Smith has worked and volunteered in Governmental Affairs in Alabama since 1997, including lobbying for a Fortune 500 company and serving as Deputy Director of Finance for the State of Alabama. She is currently the principal of Thatcher Coalition LLC. To contact Stephanie, please go to http://thatchercoalition.com. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information Commentary@1819News.com.