Lawmakers vote for ‘right to life’ language in constitution

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Alabama flag (Image: MGN Online)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama voters will decide in 2018 whether to write anti-abortion language into the state constitution.

The Alabama House of Representatives voted 73-24 Tuesday to give final approval to the legislation seeking to put “right to life” language into the Alabama Constitution. If approved by voters, the wording could put Alabama in a position to deny access to the procedure if current federal laws were to be overturned. The measure will go before voters in 2018.

The proposed constitutional language says that it is Alabama’s public policy “to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, most importantly the right to life.”

The measure is largely symbolic unless the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the decision that legalized abortion. However, it sparked a lengthy debate on the House floor regarding abortion rights and the merit of putting the language in the state constitution.

“The purpose is to record public policy of the state as a state that acknowledges the sanctity of unborn life,” said Rep. Matt Fridy, the Republican bill sponsor.

Fridy said it will also make sure no one can argue that the state constitution gives a right to an abortion.

Tennessee voters approved a similar measure in 2014. Fridy said that was partly in response to a Tennessee Supreme Court ruling that said the Tennessee Constitution offered greater protection for abortion rights than the U.S. Constitution.

Rep. Mary Moore, a Birmingham Democrat, said state lawmakers excel at showing they care about fetuses, instead of children who have been born.

“You are concerned about that child until the day that they are born. There is no concern every day that the child suffers because there are no parents there to love them,” said Moore, D-Birmingham.