By BOBBY HARR
Alabama, along with several other states, has recently passed a controversial bill outlawing abortion entirely within the state in an apparent attempt to challenge the Roe v Wade (1973) Supreme Court decision. Though it is surely to be challenged in court, the bill is set to go into effect in six months.
The bill, which was signed into law on Wednesday by governor Kay Ivey—makes it a felony to perform or attempt to perform an abortion, except when declared medically necessary. These exceptions include impairment of major bodily function, certain cases of mental illness or when the pregnancy is a threat to the mother’s life. The bill makes no exception for rape or incest.
Contrary to popular belief, the bill would not penalize a woman in any way for the termination of her pregnancy.
In section 5 of the bill, it states “No woman upon whom an abortion is performed or attempted to be performed shall be criminally or civilly liable. Furthermore, no physician confirming the serious health risk to the child’s mother shall be criminally or civilly liable for those actions.”
However, the bill does criminalize the doctor in the unlawful performing of an abortion in Alabama except under permitted circumstances—punishable of up to life in prison.
These seemingly harsh penalties remain consistent in pre-existing laws, though. For example, the penalty for Euthanasia (assisted suicide) under Alabama Law 22-8A-10; 22-8A-9(a), even if “done out of compassion” is life in prison, with the possibility of the death penalty.
To no surprise, the bill has come with great criticism and all but certain litigation in the near future. But, according to Eric Johnson, president of the Alabama Pro-life Coalition and author of the bill—that’s what they want.
In a recent interview with NPR’s Ari Shapiro, Johnson was asked “Do you agree with governor Ivey that the primary goal of this law is to get the Supreme court to revisit Roe v Wade?”
“Yes, I agree with that in this way—that we want to stop abortion of unborn children and the only way we can do that is to go back and revisit the Roe decision.” He replied. “So, this law is an effective vehicle to do that, but the real purpose of this law is to save the lives of unborn children.”
In Section 2 (i) of the bill, it highlights the disturbing number of abortions performed in the United States since Roe v Wade—showing far greater than even genocidal numbers.
“More than 50 million babies have been aborted in the United States since the Roe decision in 1973, more than three times the number who were killed in German death camps, Chinese purges, Stalin’s gulags, Cambodian killing fields, and the Rwandan genocide combined.”
Despite this all, the media has been quick to refer to these pro-life measures as “extreme” or “too far.”
The New York Times editorial board published an op-ed Wednesday titled “How to Help Protect Abortion Rights in Alabama and Georgia: America is in an era of extreme anti-abortion laws.”
Despite the quick criticism of Alabama, the editorial board is yet to refer to third-trimester abortions as "extreme" or "too far."
But really, why is Alabama’s anti-abortion bill considered extreme in the first place? Well, because it is indeed a pro-life bill is why. The problem is, you can’t really float in the middle with an issue like abortion—and Alabama realized just that. The extra dose of criticism they are receiving is merely due to them being first to go all in on this hand. This explains the lack of exception for incest and rape.
In the eyes of a pro-lifer, you must make this hard distinction—as pro-lifers see life beginning at conception. There are two separate issues here—the issue of rape/incest, and the issue of abortion. Though pregnancy undoubtedly can occur from rape and/or incest, the action of terminating the life of an unborn fetus is unrelated to the methodology behind the creation of said fetus.
Rape and incest are awful, but so is killing unborn babies in the eyes of a pro-lifer, and that is the point. The bill is in no way a downplay of these disgusting acts, nor does it mitigate the punishment involved for either of those crimes. But, if you are viewing the unborn fetus as a human life, which pro-lifers do—you must view abortion of said fetus as murder and prosecute those performing these procedures accordingly.
This is not an “extreme” bill, this is merely a pro-life bill, and Alabama is the first state to realize that you can’t float in the middle of polarizing issues whilst maintaining the integrity of your viewpoints.