MONTGOMERY — Four commonsense measures introduced in the 2014 Regular Session this week seek to continue the House Republicans Caucus’s impressive four-year record of defending the Right to Life in Alabama.
“It is unfortunate that liberal activist judges on the U.S. Supreme Court have made abortion legal in the United States, but Alabamians are fortunate to have a Republican legislature that continues to protect and prioritize life in our state,” said Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard.
Included in the package of bills introduced this week is the Fetal Heartbeat Act sponsored by Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin (R-Indian Springs). A staunch advocate and sponsor of pro-life legislation throughout her tenure in the House, McClurkin said she believes this bill could have the greatest impact on the fight for life.
“In almost every medical situation the litmus test to determine the need for continued medical treatment is the existence of a pulse,” McClurkin said. “We owe the same respect and reverence to the life of an unborn child that we would pay to any person facing a medical emergency.”
HB490 would require physicians to check for a detectable heartbeat before performing an abortion. If a physician fails to check for a heartbeat or performs an abortion after a heartbeat is detected, they would face Class C Felony charges and would have his or her medical license revoked.
Representative Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) is sponsoring a strengthened version of the previously passed Woman’s Right to Know Act, HB489. Henry’s bill increases the required wait time prior to performing an abortion from 24 to 48 hours. During this period, required information about abortion, including an ultrasound, is provided to the woman seeking the procedure.
“When someone is making a decision so monumental that it could result in the loss of a life, every single hour counts,” Henry said. “I’m confident that the difference of an additional 24 hours of consideration could help more people choose life.”
The Perinatal Hospice Information Act, HB493, sponsored by Rep. Kurt Wallace (R-Maplesville) provides that in cases where an unborn child has a lethal fetal anomaly, no abortion can be performed until a physician has informed the woman in person that perinatal hospice services are available and that they are an alternative to abortion.
A lethal fetal anomaly is defined as a condition diagnosed before birth that will likely result in the death of the child within three months after birth.
“The more information potential parents are provided with under these difficult circumstances about positive alternatives to abortion the more likely they will be to make an informed decision and a positive choice,” Wallace said.
Rep. Mike Jones (R-Andalusia) is sponsoring HB494, a bill that will toughen parental consent requirements for minors seeking an abortion. The bill requires more stringent identification and documentation requirements on behalf of the minor and their parents or legal guardians, including that a parental consent form must be signed in the presence of a physician.
“This bill makes crystal clear a process that has been enforced inconsistently at best in the state of Alabama,” Jones said. “In instances where a minor is seeking an abortion, it is imperative that they fully understand the ramifications of their decision and prove that they are wholly aware of its impact.”
All four pro-life bills will have public hearings in the House Health Committee on Wednesday at 9 AM.