MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A bill recently presented in the Alabama legislature moves to acknowledge the unborn as persons, thus granting them the right to life and ending abortion in the state.
Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle, is sponsor of H.B. 300, which would amend the Alabama Constitution to include the unborn under the definition of a person.
“The following amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, is proposed and shall become valid as a part thereof when approved by a majority of the qualified electors voting thereon … : The term ‘persons’ as used in the Code of Alabama 1975, shall include any human being from the moment of fertilization or the functional equivalent thereof,” it reads in part.
If the bill is approved, it would be placed on the state ballot in November.
The House Health Committee heard argument over the proposal on Wednesday.
“As we talk about the stages of life … eventually, our life ends,” Henry told those gathered, according to the Montgomery Adviser. “But it all begins [somewhere], and we have to determine where it begins. And to me, science makes it clear that it begins at fertilization.”
Dr. Jim Belyeu, an OB/GYN, also testified in favor of the bill, explaining that the baby is a separate entity from his or her mother.
“The mother only contributes the egg and the incubator,” he said. “The baby initiates the process of implantation. Scientifically, pregnancy has been long recognized at beginning at fertilization, so anything that would prevent implantation would be considered abortion.”
Brock Boone of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has expressed opposition to the move, characterizing the proposal as an “attack on women.”
“Proponents of this bill sound less and less concerned about the well-being of embryos and more and more concerned about hostility toward women,” he said.
Rep. John Knight, D-Montgomery and who identifies as Methodist, and Rep. Peblin Warren, D-Tuskegee and who identifies as Presbyterian, suggested that they would be fine with protecting the unborn if they knew that born children would also be a focus of care.
“I would hope we will be equally as passionate about the 550,000 children on Medicaid,” Knight said. “We’ve got to be passionate about taking care of the children who are here, and I don’t see that same passion.”
The group Personhood Alabama has expressed support for H.B. 300 and is calling on residents to contact their state representatives and urge a yes vote for the measure.
“We expect HB300 to receive great opposition from in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics throughout the state as well as the Birmingham based National Infertility Association (RESOLVE),” it outlined on its website.
“RESOLVE has already pledged to lobby against the amendment and to force the Health Committee to change the amendment to only protect prenatal children after they have been implanted in the womb,” the group explained. “This change would allow IVF clinics to continue the barbaric and completely unnecessary practice of killing ‘undesirable’ children in the embryonic stage of life.”
Nearly 60 million children and counting have been murdered in the womb since the 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade.