MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) — A bill introduced in the Alabama legislature would allow prosecutors to charge a woman with murder for the abortion of her unborn child.
The measure goes beyond Alabama’s current abortion law which says that “no person may be prosecuted for homicide or assault relating to a lawful abortion, and no woman may be prosecuted for the homicide or assault of her own unborn child.”
The measure, House Bill 454, was introduced Tuesday in the House Judiciary Committee. It seeks to bring homicide charges for abortions.
HB 454 was introduced by Rep. Ernie Yarbrough (R-AL07), Rep. Ben Harrison (R-AL02), Rep. Mack Butler (R-AL28), Rep. Mark Gidley (R-AL29), and Rep. Ritchie Whorton (R- AL22). Yarbrough represents the Lawrence County area, Harrison represents Lauderdale/Limestone counties, Butler and Gidley represent Etowah County and Whorton represents Madison County.
The proposed measure says, “This bill would repeal the provision that prohibits the prosecution of homicide or assault following any abortion and the provision that prohibits the prosecution of homicide or assault against any woman with respect to her own unborn child.”
This bill also seems to target the use of medication saying it would expand the definition of a person for “criminal code purposes” to include “an unborn child from the moment of fertilization.”
Under the proposed bill, there is also no distinction for homicide if the victim is unborn. “This bill would also provide that prosecutions of homicide or assault where the victim is an unborn child shall be treated the same as prosecutions of homicide or assault of a person born alive,” according to the bill summary.
The bill also states that “preborn children” have the right to life and equal protection under the law.
Called the ‘Equal Protection Act‘ the proposed bill declares that “the sanctity of innocent human life, created in the image of God, is acknowledged and should be equally protected from fertilization to natural death.”
The measure would also allow “duress” — facing threats of violence or other threats — to be used as a defense in a murder case if “the victim is an unborn child and the defendant is the child’s mother.”
That defense, however, is not available if that person “intentionally or recklessly placed [themselves] in a situation in which it was probable that [they] would be subjected to duress.”
Language in the bill also includes abolishing the “presumption that a woman is subject to compulsion when acting in the presence of her husband,” essentially that a person’s defense for the abortion can not be that they were acting at the command or persuasion of their spouse.
Lastly, “This bill would provide that a person may not be prosecuted for homicide or assault if the victim is an unborn child and death or injury is incidentally or accidentally caused by certain lawful medical care or treatment, provided the care or treatment is to avert the death of the pregnant woman and all other reasonable alternatives to the medical care or treatment have been exhausted.”
Alabama’s current abortion law, the Human Life Protection Act, says it would be illegal for “any person to intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion” unless “an abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother” in the state of Alabama.