Democratic nominee for governor and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, in a Monday interview on the “Matt & Aunie Show,” said that he will vote against the pro-life “Amendment Two” on the November 6 General Election ballot.
Per the Alabama Policy Institute (API), the proposed amendment “would add language to the state constitution acknowledging the sanctity of unborn life and stipulating that the state constitution provides no right to abortion.” It will place Alabama in prime position to further limit or ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is eventually rolled back or overturned.
“I can’t vote in favor of that because, again, it is not going to provide that exemption, if I understand it correctly, that we need,” Maddox said, referring to exceptions (exemptions) he supports in the cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother. To be clear, Alabama law does allow abortions in these cases and the constitutional amendment does not alter this.
The Democratic candidate later asserted that a governor has “no role over” the issue of abortion, even though the governor can sign or veto legislation restricting or expanding abortion rights and access in the state.
In fact, Amendment Two will be important regardless if Roe v. Wade is revisited, per state Rep. Matt Fridy – a lawyer well versed in constitutional law.
Fridy, per API, explained that in the year 2000, “the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that their state constitution provided higher protection for abortion than the federal constitution. As a result, an array of the state’s pro-life measures were struck down by the court, which argued that they were unconstitutional on the state level.” Tennessee eventually passed an amendment – similar to the one Alabama will vote on this November – to explicitly decree that their constitution did not, in fact, guarantee any such right.
Fridy wants to eliminate any opportunity for what happened in the Volunteer State to happen in Alabama, and the proposed amendment would be effective to that end.
Nonetheless, Maddox seemed to criticize Governor Kay Ivey for her proud pro-life stance.
“I find it, as a citizen of this state, very disingenuous that someone wants to be in our state’s highest office [who] wants to talk about something they cannot do anything about,” Maddox claimed.
It should be noted that Maddox’s core campaign issue, legalizing gambling in Alabama, would have to come about through a constitutional amendment – which would not come across the governor’s desk for approval.
Maddox, when pressed in the interview, refused to say whether he supported the federal funding of Planned Parenthood. He also said he did not know enough about the Alabama Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act and the ongoing legal battle surrounding the law to say whether he supports it or not.
Ivey supports the pro-life law, which bans the most frequently used second-trimester abortion procedure, and wants to take it before the United States Supreme Court. It has the potential of being the historic case that rolls back or, albeit less likely, overturns Roe v. Wade.
“[A]ll this rhetoric about things that are beyond our control are going to continue to diminish the lives of Alabamians across this state,” Maddox added.
Full interview below:
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn