State Rep. Rich Wingo: Alabama bill to ban abortions could be the key to overturning Roe v. Wade
Think back for a moment to what our country was like in 1973.
The average American income was $12,900 a year. A gallon of gas cost 40 cents. The top grossing movie of the year was “The Exorcist,” and “All In The Family” commanded the highest television ratings. “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” by Tony Orlando and Dawn was the year’s highest charting song.
And 1973 was also the year that the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the abomination known as the Roe v. Wade ruling.
Authored by Justice Harry Blackmun, the ruling stated that an unborn child is not protected under our Constitution, and it magically conjured a new “right to privacy” that did not previously exist.
Only two times in our nation’s history has the Supreme Court ruled a human being not to be person – the 1856 Dred Scott ruling, which denied African-Americans their basic constitutional protections, and Roe, which denied those same protections to unborn children.
In addition, the ruling’s trimester system that determines when an abortion should and should not be allowed is an arbitrary invention that is rooted in the medical, not constitutional, knowledge of the time.
During the 46 years since Roe was handed down, more than 61 million unborn lives have been ended nationwide, and in Tuscaloosa County, which encompasses my legislative district, the roughly 3,500 abortions that take place each year actually exceed the number of live births.
That is why State Rep. Terri Collins (R-Decatur) and I worked closely with the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition and its attorney, Eric Johnston, to draft and file legislation that implements a statewide ban on abortions in Alabama.
The ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and other ultra-leftist groups have already threatened to file suit if the bill is passed and signed by Gov. Ivey, but part of its intent is to force the federal courts – and the two conservative justices recently appointed by President Trump – to reconsider Roe.
If we refused to consider legislation each time a lawsuit was threatened, our state government could be held hostage by trial lawyers and the special interests they represented.
With liberal states like New York rushing to approve radical late-term and post-birth abortion bills, it is time for Alabama to move in the opposite direction and pass an abortion ban that reflects the beliefs and desires of our citizens.
Just last year, voters ratified by a landslide 60 percent majority a constitutional amendment declaring Alabama a pro-life state, which positions us to take advantage as soon as Roe is reversed. This bill is the next logical step in the process.
Our legislation bans abortions from taking place in Alabama within two weeks of conception, which is the earliest point that pregnancy can be medically determined and the same standard used by a state law allowing someone to be charged with murder if a pregnant woman’s child is killed or harmed during the commission of a crime.
An exception for cases in which a mother’s life is threatened by pregnancy is included in the measure because Judeo-Christian ethics recognize an innate right to self-defense, and while there would be no penalty for a woman seeking an abortion, a provider would be charged with a Class A felony for performing the procedure and a Class C felony for attempting to perform one.
Currently, 68 out of the 105 members of the Alabama House have signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation, and a companion bill sponsored by State Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Range) has also been introduced in the State Senate.
Alabamians have long taken pride in our state motto, which reads, “We Dare Defend Our Rights,” and this bill, this Supreme Court, and this moment in history provide us with the best opportunity to dare defend the rights of the unborn.
State Rep. Rich Wingo (R-Tuscaloosa) has represented House District 62 in the Alabama Legislature since 2014.