MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that state child protection laws include the unborn, reinforcing the court’s declaration that children in the womb are entitled to the right to life.
The 8-1 decision centered on a case involving Sarah Jane Hicks, who ingested cocaine while pregnant. After the child was born and tested positive for drugs, Hicks was charged with violating the state’s chemical endangerment statute and plead guilty.
However, Hicks’ attorneys soon argued that the word “child” in the statute did not pertain to the unborn. The case is similar to a 2013 ruling regarding two mothers who had been charged under the law for ingesting illegal drugs while pregnant.
On Friday, the court reiterated its opinion as expressed in last year’s ruling, which declared that “[t]he plain meaning of the word ‘child’ in the chemical endangerment statute includes unborn children.”
“[F]rom the child’s earliest stages of development, the existence of an unborn child is separate from that of its mother’s,” wrote Justice Tom Parker on behalf of the panel. “Accordingly, Alabama has an interest not only in promoting a sustainable society and culture that appreciates life, but also in securing the blessings of liberty by protecting the right to life inherent in the new life itself.”
Chief Justice Roy Moore, also known as the “Ten Commandments Judge,” wrote a concurring opinion, remarking that man’s law can never override God’s law, including regarding the right to life.
“God, not governments and legislatures, gives persons these inherent natural rights,” he stated. “Government, in fact, has no power to abridge or destroy natural rights God directly besets to mankind and indeed no power to contravene what God declares right or wrong.”
“As the gift of God, this right to life is not subject to violation by another’s unilateral choice,” Moore continued. “From local to international, all law flows from the divine source: it is the law of God.”
Following the decision, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel applauded the Alabama Supreme Court for taking a stand for life.
“In an age where some judges do not know the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, or do not even care, finally the Alabama Supreme Court springs forth with a ray of light,” he wrote in a statement.
“The opinions by Chief Justice Roy Moore and Tom Parker are well-reasoned, grounded in history and natural law, and completely demolish the fallacies of the U.S. Supreme Court’s abortion decisions,” Staver continued. “One day soon the United States Supreme Court’s abortion opinions will come toppling down like a house of cards. Then we will look back at history like we now do with Nazi Germany and wonder why our generation was so blind to the personhood of the preborn child.”