2 months ago

Greg Reed calls for focus on ‘what we’re really talking about’ in abortion debate — ‘A little bitty baby’

MONTGOMERY — While State Rep. John Rogers’ (D-Birmingham) viral comments from last week have made international headlines for all the wrong reasons, Alabama Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) wants to turn the conversation back to HB 314 and what the abortion debate is really all about: an innocent, defenseless baby in the womb.

In an interview with Yellowhammer News, Reed discussed his support for the bill, which was passed by the House last week. HB 314, which would be the nation’s strictest abortion ban, is on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s calendar for Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.

Reed said his goal is to have the bill on the Senate floor on Thursday. State Sen. Clyde Chambliss (R-Prattville) will carry the bill in the Senate for State Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur), the bill’s sponsor.

Known as one of the most influential elected officials in the state, Reed is also a leading pro-life advocate and champion. He was one of the first officeholders nationwide to denounce Roger’s now-infamous remarks, and Reed was a vocal proponent of Alabama’s Amendment Two this past election cycle.

“I am definitively on the pro-life side and will do whatever I can do move this legislation forward,” Reed said. “But I think it’s important for all of us to stay focused on what’s most important.”

He has witnessed firsthand the circus-like atmosphere that the abortion topic has brought to the State House. Rogers aside, pro-abortion supporters have taken their rhetoric to new levels in opposing HB 314. One protester was arrested after vandalizing the House gallery windows with chalk paint, but it was the peaceful assembly that raised eyebrows even higher, and again not in a constructive way. Pro-abortion activists, dressed in attire from the fictional show “The Handmaid’s Tale,” brought signs that said, “Abortion is a human right,” “Abortion is good for families” and “Abortion on demand without apology,” among other sentiments well outside the mainstream, especially for the Yellowhammer State.

Reed decried that the goal of these advocates has changed over time to become primarily about “winning” – and by any means necessary – rather than the substance of the issue itself.

“You wind up to where things begin to lose the significance of what we’re really talking about here,” he outlined. “The number one focus here is the determination of what is right. And how that decision about what is right has significant impact on a child and that child’s mother. When you boil it down, that is what we all should be most concerned with, is that child and that child’s mother, and that helps frame the debate, frame the discussion… in a way that is most important.”

With all of the heated rhetoric surrounding the abortion debate, Reed is worried that people may be missing the crux of the conversation, as well as the point of HB 314 — which is to ideally spark a major rollback of or overturn the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade precedent.

“This legislation has a purpose,” Reed emphasized.

He called re-examining Roe v. Wade “important” and “healthy for America.”

Reed also stressed where he stands on the abortion issue.

“I certainly believe the baby in the womb is a human life,” Reed stated.

“For me, it is a very clear, personal decision. Being pro-life is something that I am, have been and will continue to be,” he said. “Because I feel like that should be the position of Alabama and of America in regards to [abortion]… and I think that is the case for most of my colleagues in the Alabama Senate.”

As “a deliberative body,” Reed noted HB 314 is being looked at “carefully” and analyzed meticulously by members of the Senate, as they do with all pieces of legislation.

“I think that’s healthy, I think that’s what we should be doing,” Reed remarked. “I do think that in the end, we’re going to see that the State Senate will vote, as did the House of Representatives, to uphold the sanctity of life and support this legislation as a potential challenge to Roe v. Wade.”

He said this comes “against the backdrop” of Amendment Two being overwhelmingly approved by a referendum of the people in November, declaring Alabama as a firmly pro-life state, despite a massive pro-abortion ad buy by Planned Parenthood.

“The people of Alabama, even with that kind of opposition and that kind of financial resource from places like California and New York, the people still spoke very loudly in regards to what their attitude is toward the sanctity of life,” Reed advised. “So, I think for me, this is an issue that is very important to me personally, and has always been, but I also think that we as a body are moving forward in carrying out what we know are the straight up interests and wishes of the people of Alabama, based on a vote that was less than six months ago.”

Yellowhammer News noted that Collins has stressed that she does not want amendments made to the bill because the legislation was purposefully crafted to challenge the concept of personhood before the Supreme Court and amendments – including adding exceptions for rape and/or incest – could dilute that overarching purpose.

Stressing that his overall perspective is a staunchly pro-life one, Reed outlined, “On the topic of the amendments, I think it’s back to trying to analyze what I have heard Representative Collins say on a number of occasions: that this is a very focused topic, it’s a topic that has specific legal ramifications and the goal of the legislation is to potentially… allow for a review of Roe v. Wade.”

Reed then stipulated that if Roe v. Wade is modified by a new Supreme Court decision he hopes the justices will allow the states to decide for themselves on abortion policy in their own jurisdictions. If that occurred, Reed again pointed to Amendment Two as what the wish of the majority of Alabamians would be.

“At that point then, we would be able to make appropriate exceptions within what would govern the procedures or lack thereof in the state of Alabama,” he added. “At this stage in the game though, with the goal of what the legislation actually is, the fact that the constitutional legal review says that the best way to accomplish the goal is to minimize the amendments, then I’m supportive of that.”

He then reiterated that if the goal of a successful Roe v. Wade challenge is accomplished, the legislature would then be in a position to decide what exceptions are allowed, based on the will of the people and what “is best for Alabama, not governed by federal mandate.”

While Reed wants the legislature to move on from Rogers’ sideshow, he said hopefully that situation “creates a new sense of evaluation,” “a new attitude of engagement” and “newfound support within” people that have become somewhat “desensitized” to the abortion debate in Alabama and across the country.

“Once you are faced with graphic description and once you understand the way some people feel about these topics, for those like myself and many, many others, certainly the majority of Alabamians, then I think that it will re-energize and engage people to re-examine where they are on this topic and have them once again step forward to let their voices be heard,” Reed said.

He said that some of those new voices will not agree with his pro-life stance, but “that’s the beauty of America, that we have the opportunity to do that — and that freedom to express our views.”

Reed called this freedom of thought and expression “the fiber of what makes America a great country.”

The Senate majority leader emphasized that he is encouraged and happy to see Alabamians “standing up for the unborn child” and hopes to see people in this majority continue to become personally involved and engaged.

He remarked that the current makeup of the Supreme Court and the potential for President Donald Trump to add another justice or two if he wins re-election is part of what is re-energizing both sides of the abortion debate, as the potential for change becomes more realistic.

“The president is definitively responsible for that, along with the U.S. Senate,” Reed said. “Having conservatives in positions of significant leadership at the top levels of our nation, has it made a difference? Absolutely it has. Has it changed the narrative? No doubt. And as a result, I think these topics are coming to the forefront again of political and social debate. … I think ‘ground zero’ of that specifically is the U.S. Supreme Court and [Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh] who were nominated by the president.”

He concluded by reaffirming what everyone should be thinking about during the abortion debate.

“Some of these comments and some of these methodologies and some of these things that are happening are just outrageous,” Reed emphasized. “Let’s all just stop for a minute and recognize what we’re really talking about here: a little bitty baby and that precious child’s mother and family. Let’s just be focused on what is at stake here.”

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

14 hours ago

On this day in Alabama history: Camp McClellan was established in east Alabama

July 18, 1917

Shortly after the United States entered World War I, the War Department established Camp McClellan as a rapid mobilization base and permanent National Guard facility. More than 27,000 men were training at the east Alabama base by the end of 1917. Camp McClellan was originally named in honor of U.S. Army Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, and was renamed Fort McClellan in 1929. During World War II, nearly 500,000 military personnel trained there. After being put in custodial status following the war, it was reactivated during the Korean War and Cold War era. The focus shifted to chemical weapons training during and after the Vietnam War. The fort survived one round of military base closings during the 1990s, but it was finally shut down in 1999. The site has shifted to private use as well as for Alabama National Guard training.

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Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

14 hours ago

Ainsworth in Huntsville: Alabama is ‘the aerospace capital of the world’

Wednesday, Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth (R-AL) presented Dr. Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr. with the 2019 Thomas R. Hobson Distinguished Aerospace Service Award for a lifetime of exemplary achievement in the aerospace field.

The award presentation came during the Aerospace States Association’s annual dinner, which was held in Huntsville at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

Ainsworth is currently chair of the association, which is a national nonpartisan group composed of lieutenant governors, gubernatorial-appointed delegates and associate members from aerospace organizations and academia.

In remarks shared with Yellowhammer News, Ainsworth honored Alabama’s space legacy, recognizing Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary this week.

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“Throughout each of the past six decades, Alabama and the Marshall Space Flight Center have created the engines that rocketed man into the heavens,” he said. “It’s here that Dr. Wernher Von Braun and his committed team of scientists and engineers birthed the Saturn V rocket that took men to the Moon and allowed them to place a U.S. flag on the lunar surface.”

“For those reasons, it’s altogether appropriate that we gather in this state and this city for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission,” he continued. “We are fortunate to have Buzz Aldrin, an original moonwalker and living American legend, join us during this conference.”

The conference is set to last through the rest of the week, with attendees working on publicly policy related to the aerospace industry and advocating for their home states.

“The work we do here this week will bring the stars and planets closer to the earth and ensure that future generations are privy to the same dreams and inspirations that the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Shuttle, and Space Station eras provid-ed to generations prior,” Ainsworth told the crowd.

Alabama is set to play a big role in ongoing and future space exploration, as Ainsworth emphasized in an interview with WHNT on Wednesday.

“I was just talking with some industry leaders who are here and they are talking about expanding the existing industry,” he the lieutenant governor said. “I think a lot of new industries are looking here. And the reason why is we are the aerospace capital of the world. I think when you look at our tax environment, with the workforce we are training, Alabama is open for business in aerospace, no doubt.”

Speaking with WZDX, Ainsworth referenced the Artemis program, with companies like United Launch Alliance (ULA) in Alabama set to make history in the very near future.

“Today I had an opportunity to tour ULA where they are building rockets that will literally send our next astronauts to the Moon, and when you look at just the president’s commitment to going back to the Moon, and when you look at potentially the future of going to Mars, it’s an exciting and energetic time in the aerospace industry right now,” Ainsworth advised.

RELATED: Aderholt celebrates Apollo 11, calls for SLS to stay on schedule

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

15 hours ago

Apollo 11 is now problematic?

Right now, Alabama, along with the rest of America, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. A mission that culminated in man walking on the moon and fulfilled the vision put out by President John F. Kennedy that it would be done before the end of the 1970s.

In normal times, this would be a time for celebration and unity. Americans from all sectors and political parties would drop their swords and join together to consume media of trying times and magnificent accomplishments.

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Unfortunately, this is Trump’s America and because of that, the overarching theme that must pulse through every aspect of American culture, which is dominated by the media and their Democrats, is the simple undeniable and universal belief that America sucks.

It’s racist, stupid, sexist, stupid, homophobic, stupid, Islamaphobic, stupid and stupid.

Our soccer team believes it. Our celebrities believe it. Our politicians believe it.

And the news media is going to feed it to us non-stop.

For example, Werhner Von Braun was a Nazi, therefore his accomplishments on this matter are unworthy.

Another example: The space program had too many men, therefore it was problematic.

Another argument is Soviet Russia had more firsts (or something), so America should have focused less on accomplishing the mission and more on diversity.

Who is this for? What American wanted this? Who is the consumer for this news?

Inhabitants of American newsrooms and their woke superfans online.

This was not one outlet, one reporter, one editor — it is across the board.

These are major American media outlets and they cannot resist the urge to scold their fellow Americans for, in this case, the perceived sins of the past.

This is why people hate the media as a whole.

They aren’t offended, they aren’t going to write a letter, they aren’t going to demand someone be fired.

Your average American is sick of this nonsense. They roll their eyes and go on about their business.

This is why people don’t trust them. This is why they are called things like the “enemy of the people” and people applaud it.

This is how you got Trump.

President Donald Trump is the embodiment of the people who are sick of this crap.

And every time the people who work in these newsrooms and under these “legendary” banners write these articles try to scold Americans for some clearly arbitrary offense of the day, or the past, they might as well drop a dollar into Trump’s reelection campaign.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.

16 hours ago

Doug Jones’ approval rating continues to fall

Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) continues to lose popularity as 2020 draws nearer.

Morning Consult on Thursday released its polling numbers for the second quarter of 2019, showing Jones’ net approval rating 20 points lower than the first quarter of 2018 when he entered the U.S. Senate.

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The polling was conducted from April 1 through June 30 and measured registered voters. The results showed 39% of respondents approved of Jones’ job performance, while 37% disapproved and 24% were undecided. The margin of error was 1%.

In contrast, Senator Richard Shelby’s (R-AL) net approval rating is 15 points higher than Jones’, with 46% approving and only 29% disapproving of Alabama’s venerable senior senator.

Jones’ net approval rating has dropped three points since the beginning of the year.

Another poll conducted in April went deeper than Morning Consult’s approval rating surveys, showing that Jones faces nearly insurmountable demographic barriers to reelection.

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

16 hours ago

Alabama couple turns racist graffiti message into opportunity to respond to hate with love

Jeremy and Gina Miller, an interracial husband-and-wife real estate team in the Birmingham metro area, were shocked on Wednesday to discover a racial slur painted on one of their “For Sale” signs at a local property.

ABC 33/40 reported that “NO N***R” was painted on the Local Realty sign in large white letters.

However, the Millers are responding to this hateful incident purely with love, guided by their faith, according to The Trussville Tribune.

“I think that God has been preparing Gina and me for a long time, in ways that we never would have expected, to touch a lot of people,” Jeremy told the newspaper.

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The Millers, who live in Clay, will not be pressing charges on the individual responsible for the racist graffiti, whose identity is at this time unknown.

“We would love to know who did it because if we find them, we will show them mercy,” Jeremy advised. “I don’t think anything good comes from pressing charges. That’s not the message here.”

The couple hopes to use the incident to unite their community and lift others up.

“We just got a message on Facebook yesterday about how God spoke to him through my post and our response,” Jeremy told The Trussville Tribune. “It encouraged him to see us responding through love and not through retaliation.”

“When something like this occurs, you can love back instead. We want to unite people,” he added.

Jeremy also wants people to know the racist incident is not representative of their community.

“This is not indicative of the people in this area,” he emphasized. “It happens everywhere and they don’t always say it to your face.”

Perhaps the toughest part of the incident personally for the Millers has been trying to tell their children what happened.

“Having to explain to them what happened with the sign has been a little frustrating,” Gina noted.

The Millers are also using this incident as a learning opportunity.

“We tell [our children] all the time, hurt people, hurt people,” Jeremy explained. “I tell them that even adults do mean things sometimes. When you’re angry, you’re not nice to other people… We want to respond in love when maybe that person hasn’t received such things.”

Jeremy stressed a constant message of love.

“It (racism) is not dead and it probably won’t die for a very, very long time, but we as a culture and society have to keep perpetuating the message of loving one another,” he remarked. “If someone’s hurting and they lash out at you, you don’t have to respond negatively.”

The defaced sign has been replaced with a fresh one that includes both Jeremy and Gina’s headshots.

Read more here.

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