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Alabama considers personhood amendment

On Wednesday, the Alabama House Heath Committee began discussion on a proposed constitutional amendment that would define preborn babies as “persons” from the moment of fertilization. If passed, the amendment would effectively ban abortions in the state of Alabama.

Personhood measures have been voted down in Mississippi, Colorado and North Dakota, and in 2012 the Oklahoma Supreme Court blocked a similar amendment from reaching the ballot.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ed Henry, believes the amendment would simply put into law what modern science has already told us. “To me, science makes it clear that [life] begins at fertilization” Henry said. When asked why he would introduce legislation that would surely face an uphill battle in court, even if it passes, Henry replied, “Because I believe in life.”

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Personhood Alabama, a pro-life advocacy group, says that defining preborn babies as “persons” under the law is a key part of defeating Roe v. Wade. According to their website

All we have to do to end abortion in our state is pass a law declaring that all unborn children have the legal protection of persons under the law. This would immediately bring these children under the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment which declares that no state shall “deprive any person of life … without due process of law.”

Pro-life leaders, including Franklin Graham, have spoken out in favor of the proposed amendment. On Thursday, Graham discussed the amendment on his Facebook page. “…I’m in Alabama’s capital, Montgomery, today to lead a prayer rally for our nation on the Capitol steps at noon. I pray that this state will recognize a fetus as a person…”

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