When it came to Alabama’s response to the Supreme Court decision overruling Roe v. Wade, it is hard to imagine a more seamless transition to an abortion-free state.
Around 9:15 a.m. on Friday, June 24th, news of the Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overruling Roe v. Wade reached Alabama.
At 10:37 a.m., Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall released a statement promising that his office was immediately filing motions to dissolve any injunctions against pro-life bills held up in the court system. These would have to be dissolved before pro-life measures could go into effect in Alabama.
Just before 4:00 p.m., U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson lifted the injunction on the Human Life Protection Act, which bans elective abortion in Alabama, after a conference call with AG Marshall. With very limited exceptions, such as for the life of the mother, abortion was now illegal in Alabama.
This seamless transition to an abortion-free state, though buoyed by the faithful service of AG Marshall and the right judgment of Judge Thompson, is largely a result of the Alabama legislature’s insistence on getting the abortion issue right.
In 2019, the Alabama legislature did just that. They passed the most pro-life law in the nation, a law that recognized the life of the unborn child and protected it from untimely death. The law was carefully crafted to be effective and implemented easily, without copious confusion around definitions or hidden loopholes for lawsuits to stop the law from going into effect.
During the debate around the bill, legislators stood firm in their argument that all unborn children, regardless of how they were conceived or whether their parents desired to keep them, were worthy of life and of protection.
They also were especially careful to ensure that expectant mothers are not prosecuted for pursuing an abortion. Only the person providing or performing the abortion is liable under Alabama law. Never the mother.
The legislature was also careful that, in their quest to protect life, they did not overextend their reach into issues like in vitro fertilization and emergency contraception. Though opinions abound on these topics, the goal of the Human Life Protection Act was kept intentionally narrow to make it as effective as possible.
All in all, the legislature did the abortion issue right, and we are seeing the fruit of their labor today. The now-effective Human Life Protection Act is true to pro-life principles, will keep women from prosecution and represents Alabama’s conservative values well. It is a morally just law of which our state ought to be proud. It was not a haphazard political stunt but a good and thoughtful policy that considered what implementation might look like if the ban were ever allowed to go into effect.
None of this thoughtfulness was portrayed by the late-night television hosts plastering the faces of Alabama legislators, who were called “dumb” and “sexist” on screens across America. Legislators likely knew those types of attacks would come, and they should be applauded for voting as they did.
Governor Ivey, who signed the act into law in 2019, recently rejected a call to weaken the ban. This week, House Democrats asked her to call a special session of the legislature to reconsider the Human Life Protection Act. To her credit, the Governor’s Office has made it clear that such a special session would not happen.
When drafting and supporting Alabama’s abortion ban, both the legislature and the governor put their pro-life convictions into action. Their joint effort made it possible, when Roe was overturned, for Alabama to effortlessly transition into the pro-life sanctuary our residents have always wanted our state to be.
Of course, this is only the beginning. There will likely be a well-funded pressure campaign to manipulate our government into weakening this law. If Alabama residents want to maintain our status as a pro-life sanctuary, legislators and the governor alike will need the public’s support to stay the course.