Abortion could come up in the upcoming Alabama legislative session, and one freshman legislator is looking to add more protections for the unborn.

State Rep. Ernie Yarbrough (R-Trinity) recently filed The Abolish Abortion in Alabama Act, a bill that would treat abortion as murder in Alabama.

In June 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) struck down Roe v. Wade, which claimed abortion was a Constitutional right.

After the SCOTUS decision, Alabama's near-total ban on abortion under the Alabama Human Life Protection Act of 2019 went into effect.

According to Yarbrough, Alabama's law, despite restricting abortions, does not grant equal protection to unborn children since it does not treat abortion as murder, nor does it have any punishment for "self-managed" abortions.

See also: Abortion pills over the internet: How stringent are Alabama's abortion laws?

"The intention behind this bill is that it codifies what every conservative, in terms of life, runs on; and that is that life begins at fertilization and that every human life should deserve equal protection under the law," Yarbrough told 1819 News. "There is only one consistent position when it comes to murder, and equal protection provides that consistent position, and it recognizes that all life is made in the image of God, and is valuable, and is worth protecting and is worth fighting for."

"This law does not make any new criminals. All it says is that the same legal process that you and I enjoy in the protection of our life, all human life gets to enjoy; that's all it says," he said.

There have already been talks about adding exceptions to the Human Life Protection Act, explicitly adding exceptions for cases of rape and incest.

For Yarbrough, allowing abortions for rape and incest is irrational since it fundamentally advocates punishing the victim of a crime.

"Do we live in a fallen world where sad, bad things happen? Sure," Yarbrough said. "Obviously, as Christians, we look for the Lord to establish righteousness. But, in the meantime, we have to be the defenders of righteousness and life and mercy. So this bill acknowledges the fact that, even if there are heartbreaking and undesirable circumstances surrounding the conception of a child, the solution to a crime isn't to murder the innocent. The solution to a crime is to render justice upon the heads of those that would commit such acts against human beings."

One accepted provision in Yarbrough's bill is the treatment of ectopic pregnancies, which would not apply if the bill passed.  

Ectopic pregnancies occur when a fertilized ovum does not implant inside the uterus as designed. In most cases, ectopic pregnancies become implanted in the fallopian tube. These pregnancies can lead to the rupturing of the fallopian tube, which can be life-threatening due to internal bleeding.

According to Yarbrough, there is a sharp moral distinction between elective abortions at will and the unfortunate delivery of an unviable baby that would be taken care of if medical technology allowed.

"The exception in our bill, if you want to call it that, is for ectopic pregnancies," Yarbrough continued. "Even then, when they remove the fertilized egg, if we had the technology to bring the baby to term, we would strive to do that. So the immediate purpose of [treating] an ectopic pregnancy is to save the life of the mother, and If we had the technology, save the life of the baby. So that kind of immediate procedure isn't in and of itself an abortion, and the purpose of that bill is to save life."

Another exception would prevent a mother from being punished in cases where an abortion is forced or coerced.

"Right now, in Alabama, you aren't held liable for crimes of duress unless it's murder," Yarbrough explained. "If someone holds your husband or wife or kid hostage and says, 'go rob this bank, or I'm going to kill your family member,' well, if you go and commit the crime, the person who is held responsible for it is the person holding the gun, except in the case of murder. What this bill says is if a woman is threatened, her life is threatened, she is threatened or coerced through threats of physical danger, she would not be held liable for that; they would go after, of course, the people who committed the murder of the abortion, but then they would also go after the person coercing her."

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email craig.monger@1819news.com.

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