DECATUR, Ala – Lawmakers in Alabama are keeping a close eye on the Senate hearing for President Trump’s US Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett, including the Morgan County state Representative who sponsored the most restrictive abortion ban in the country that Governor Ivey signed into law in 2019.
Healthcare and Roe v. Wade are two topics Judge Amy Coney Barrett has been asked about during her senate hearings this week.
“Do you agree with Justice’s Scalia’s view that Roe was wrongly decided,” Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) asked Barrett during Tuesday’s hearing.
“Senator, I completely understand why you are asking the question, but again, I can’t precommit or say yes I’m going in with some agenda because I’m not,” Judge Barrett responded.
While Barrett has been tight lipped on her thoughts on Roe v. Wade, Alabama State Representative Terri Collins says she and other pro-life supporters have been waiting for more conservative justices to sit on the nation’s highest court.
“If the pro-life bill that Alabama passed were to get to the Supreme Court that they would be able to consider, how would they rule on Roe v. Wade versus how they ruled on it years ago,” she said. “When we were discussing the right time for passing legislation like this, the changing and the possibility that it would be a more conservative based Supreme Court it might get to, that was a part of it.”
When the Alabama Human Life Protection Act passed in 2019, it sent shock waves across the country since it doesn’t offer an exception for rape or incest. The only medical exception is to prevent a serious health risk to the child’s mother. In addition to that, it also defines an unborn child as a human being in utero at any stage of development regardless of viability. Collins acknowledged the restrictive nature of the legislation, but points out it was written that way deliberately.
“It truly used the language that Roe v. Wade used hoping and believing that if the courts were to relook at it with the evidence that we have now that, that baby in the womb is a person that they would then overturn that,” she explained.
And as a result, it would once again allow states to create abortion legislation of their own.
Collins did say if Roe v. Wade was overturned, she would be interested in supporting less restrictive abortion legislation in Alabama.
“If you look at that heartbeat bill that I sponsored for four years, and actually Representative Mary Sue McClurkin sponsored it before that, I think it’s a good bill. I think where we had it, that’s more like what I believe the community, Alabama, those that have voted us to be a pro-life state, the medical group, I worked on that legislation with a lot of the different groups and think it would be really good.
As for the status of the 2019 legislation, it was blocked by a federal judge in Montgomery. The case is ongoing. So far the state has had to pay more than $450,000 in the lawsuit.