Former Planned Parenthood head admits Roe v. Wade ‘absolutely at risk’ with Alabama abortion bill pending
Speaking with Axios‘ Mike Allen on Friday morning, Richards was complaining about the trend of recent state bills restricting abortion, calling it a “huge issue.” She was specifically speaking in reference to the most recent examples: Alabama’s pending bill and Georgia’s just-passed “heartbeat bill.
HB 314 is intended to challenge Roe v. Wade on the question of what constitutes “personhood.” State Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur), the bill’s sponsor, has explained the bill is narrowly and intentionally crafted to use language from the Roe v. Wade decision itself to have the Supreme Court re-examine whether the baby in utero is a “person” under the law.
Richards said, “[W]ith the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh [to the Supreme Court], the right to safe and legal abortion in this country is not just theoretically at risk — it is absolutely at risk.”
As Alabama Democrats and national (and some state) media outlets try and twist HB 314 into a Hollywood-scripted, dystopian policy, Richards’ comments are a powerful reminder to the state legislature that the bill is really just a legal tool to challenge Roe v. Wade.
To be very clear, HB 314 was never intended to become law as written.
State Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville), who is carrying the bill in that chamber, has called HB 314 a “vehicle” to get the Supreme Court to take up the legal challenge. If the challenge is successful, Chambliss and other proponents want the court to give states the power to decide how they place restrictions on abortion. At that point, “appropriate” exceptions – like the ones for rape and incest – would be taken up by the legislature.
However, adding rape and incest exceptions to HB 314 would contradict the “personhood” argument at the very crux of the legal challenge.
Collins has explained, “Well, how do we say, ‘The baby inside is a person unless they’re conceived in rape or incest?’ If that amendment was to get on the bill, then I’ll kill the bill because it won’t go to the Supreme Court. It will contradict itself. And so that’s why we’re trying to keep it clean…”
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn