MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A Democratic lawmaker is defending his words after claiming on the Alabama House floor this week that if you bring “unwanted” children into the world, you end up sending them “to the electric chair,” and so “you kill them now or you kill them later.”
“[I]t ought to be a woman’s choice,” state Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, said during debate on the “Human Life Protection Act.” “I’m not about to be the male telling a woman what to do with her body. She has the right to make her decision herself.”
“Some kids are unwanted. So, you kill them now or kill them later,” he continued. “You bring them in the world unwanted, unloved, you send them to the electric chair. So, you kill them now or kill them later.”
Rogers words quickly resulted in outrage and backlash, including from Alabama Senate Majority Leader Sen. Greg Reed, R-Jasper.
“Representative Rogers’ remarks are chilling. ‘Kill them now, or you kill them later’? His comments should be condemned at the state and national level,” he said in a statement. “Every human life, no matter how weak or small, has inherent dignity because we are all made in the image of God.”
In a video posted to YouTube on Thursday by AL.com, Rogers provided an explanation and defense of his words. He said that societal circumstances are killing people, and so people are killed anyway, whether now or later. Therefore, “what’s the difference?”
“We close rural hospitals, 13 already, and Cooper Green hospital in Birmingham. And so, you kill them anyway. And then, you put them in jail. … I get reports of two people dying in jail a night. … People get hung in jail,” he said. “We had a raid in prison the other day. They collected so many weapons and so many cell phones and so much marijuana in the jail themselves. And then we’ve got a jail system where we’ve got one guard for 200 prisoners. You kill them anyway.”
“And then, you deny them food stamps. You’re saying that you’ve got to get drug tested to get food stamps. Because you’re on drugs, you’ve got to starve to death. So, therefore, you kill them anyway,” Rogers continued.
He also asserted that it is wrong for there not to be exceptions for incest and rape and the life of mother.
“And then, you’re going to tell a woman she can’t make a decision about incest and rape? She can’t have an abortion? That’s a woman’s choice,” Rogers opined. “You’re going to tell a woman, ‘You’re going to die if you have a child. You’ve got to have that child.’ That’s stupid and ridiculous. She’s got a right to make her own choice whether she wants to live or die.”
As previously reported, a number of doctors and nurses have refuted the notion that abortion is ever necessary for the life or health of the mother, as a Cesarean section would be performed if an emergency arose. There is no need to kill the baby in the process.
“If there is a true emergency (high blood pressure due to pregnancy, for example) doctors will in fact end the pregnancy to save the mother. It is called an emergency C-section. The baby is out — maybe very early, but the baby is out — and cared for. The pregnancy has ended and Mom can be cared for,” explained ultrasound tech Sarah Cleveland. “Emergencies ending in C-sections, ending the pregnancy and saving the mother, happen all the time.”
Rogers also argued that if babies are malformed, for example, lacking a brain or having only one eye, it should be the mother’s decision whether or not to bring the child into the world.
As previously reported, the bill that Rogers had been opposing via his remarks would make the performance of abortion a crime, but with the exceptions of the “serious health risk” for the mother, an ectopic pregnancy or if the child is not expected to survive due to a stated “lethal anomaly.” It also exempts the mother who sought out the abortionist from civil or criminal liability.