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Dem Rep. Rogers: ‘I stand by what I said — Dead is dead’

MONTGOMERY — State Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham) made national headlines after a clip from his Tuesday House floor comments on abortion went viral, and now he is doubling down on his remarks.

Yellowhammer News spoke to Rogers right before he walked onto the House floor on Thursday morning, with the longtime state representative saying that the full context of what he was saying on Tuesday is important to understand what he was advocating for.

Rogers, a Catholic, has said he believes “abortion is horribly wrong.”

However, and he advised this was the point he was trying to make in the now-infamous viral video, he shared that he believes Alabamians are hypocritical in saying they are pro-life, because they do not provide the necessary resources for children born into poverty or situations where they are “unwanted” or otherwise not able to be properly cared for.

“What I’m saying is this: we got a state that won’t take Medicaid expansion, we got 13 rural hospitals closing, we closed a hospital in Birmingham, we got too many people getting killed at night in Birmingham, in Alabama prisons, kill me now or kill me later,” he told Yellowhammer News.

Despite the fact that Rep. Terri Collins’ (R-Decatur) bill – that Rogers was talking about in the video – allows an exception in the case of danger to the life of the mother, Rogers then asserted that Republicans were trying to force mothers into deciding between themselves or their babies living.

“You’ll have doctors tell[ing] them, ‘Either you die or the baby dies.’ We shouldn’t make that decision for that lady … that’s between her and her God,” he said.

“So that’s what I’m saying, we kill the people every day anyway. So, we are not pro-life. We are pro-birth, not pro-life. So, that’s what I’m saying, so everybody understands it now. This is backwards-Bama. We [are going to] pay $1.8 million to defend a lawsuit, but we don’t even provide people with the proper care in Alabama. So, I stand by what I said. Dead is dead,” Rogers emphasized, laughing at the last line.

“You want a mother with 13 children [who already can’t take care of the children] to bring another child onto this Earth? To starve to death,” he continued.

Rogers then said that the state needs to take better care of people who are alive if lawmakers want to call themselves “pro-life.”

“If you [are going to] be pro-life, be pro-life. Don’t half-step it,” he stressed. “Tell the truth.”

“Take your mother,” Rogers said to Yellowhammer News. “She got a right to decide whether [she’s] going to live or die or her baby’s going to live or die. That’s between her and her God and her family. It’s not fair, it’s a — it’s a horrendous bill.”

Rogers then said it was “great” that Donald Trump, Jr. had tweeted about him and his original comments. Rogers then specifically responded to Trump’s comment that, “Every Democrat running for President needs to be asked where they stand on this.”

“If they don’t stand with me, I won’t be supporting them,” Rogers said. “Cause I tell the truth.”

He did not elaborate on what he meant Tuesday when he was rationalizing “retarded” or “half-deformed” children being aborted when mothers are aware of their condition in the womb.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church holds, “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law… Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn