Saturday, NBC 13 posted an interview with Democratic gubernatorial nominee and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, in which the candidate came out against the pro-life Alabama Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act and attacked the legislators who passed it and other similar legislation as “disgusting.”
The interview came the same day as Maddox releasing his first television ad of the general election season. In this ad, he calls himself “pro-life” and claims he will “never lie” to Alabamians.
When first asked whether he supported the act, which has been struck down by a federal appellate court and will likely be appealed to the now-conservative leaning Supreme Court, Maddox appeared to want to give a non-answer answer.
“Here’s what I don’t want us to do: I’m tired of us chasing down issues just for the sake of rhetoric and not results. Anything that’s not going to match a constitutional test, is going to cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of dollars, we have simply got to avoid that type of leadership,” Maddox began.
He added, “I’ve been very clear from the start of this election, I am pro-life.”
Maddox, growing visibly agitated, continued on with what could have been a yes or no answer.
“I believe in, though, we should have exceptions for the health of the mother or in cases of rape or incest. That is going to be the foundation by which I make any decisions. Here’s the other thing we don’t need to be doing: we shouldn’t be victimizing or criminalizing people who may feel differently,” Maddox said.
The Democrat then attacked the intentions and integrity of pro-life legislators in Alabama.
“This is a very complex issue, a very personal issue. And for our lawmakers to delve into this by the way, not that they really believe they’re going to change an outcome, because they think it makes for good politics, that is disgusting to me. We shouldn’t use religion and we shouldn’t use hot-button issues as distractions to not solving problems,” Maddox opined.
“I’m running for governor, not to get involved in some ideological debate,” Maddox continued. “I’m running for governor because I’m tired of us being 47th, 48th, 49th and 50th. I’m tired of us embarrassing ourselves by passing unconstitutional measures, that’s not going to improve a school, that’s not going to keep a hospital open, that’s not going to help a family that’s dealing with mental illness, whose not going to help us overcome an infant mortality rate that is the worst in the nation. You want to know where my values are? My values are with the people of this state that are struggling every day, who have seen nothing but corrupt and incompetent leadership down in Montgomery. That’s going to change on January 20, 2019.”
Yet, the interviewer was not letting that lengthy response stand on such a direct question.
“So in terms of this specific issue, though, you are fine with the ruling [against the pro-life law] as it is?” Maddox was then asked.
After a brief shake of the head, Maddox gave a more pointed response.
“For the state to continue down a road that ultimately is going to cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars, that is going to be proven unconstitutional, regardless if it’s this measure or others, there’s no way that I would support,” Maddox said.
To be clear, Alabama’s likely appeal to the Supreme Court is viewed as having the potential to succeed, as the ruling against the state by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals largely ruled in deference to the highest court’s jurisdiction over the issue. Additionally, one of the appellate judges wrote a dissent, and the chief judge admitted the procedure in question is indeed “dismemberment.”
Nevertheless, Maddox does not see any value in the law or attempting to defend the law, instead pivoting to his campaign talking points.
“Again, why would we take resources away from our health care needs, our mental health needs, our corrections needs, to do something that’s going to at worst, at best, give us some notoriety but does nothing to improve outcomes of the people in Alabama. I’m just not that type of leader,” Maddox asserted.
His opposition to this pro-life law comes after Maddox revealed he was opposing Amendment Two, which is up for constitutional referendum on the November 6 general election ballot and “would add language to the state constitution acknowledging the sanctity of unborn life and stipulating that the state constitution provides no right to abortion.”
You can read the objective Fair Ballot Commission’s write-up on the amendment here.
Planned Parenthood has pumped at least $800,000 into Alabama to attempt to defeat the pro-life amendment. Along with Maddox and Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and the Feminist Majority Foundation are opposing its passage.
Watch the interview:
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn