By Matthew Tyson
On May 12th, 2016, Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama signed a bill that would prohibit abortions performed through “Dilation or Evacuation”—other wise known in the bill as “dismemberment abortion.” This would essentially prohibit second trimester abortions of viable infants in Alabama.
SB 363, or the Alabama Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, has the full support of Democrats for Life of America, and we would like to send our sincerest gratitude to the 5 Democratic legislators that voted in favor of the bill: House minority leader Craig Ford (D, Gadsden) and Rep. Elaine Beech (D, Chatom), as well as Senators Priscilla Dunn (D, Bessemer), Linda Coleman-Madison (D, Birmingham), and Vivian Figures (D, Mobile).
Though a win for the whole life community to provide protection to preborn infants, the bill attracted the expected negative criticism from abortion rights supporters.
In an editorial for al.com, Dalton Johnson, owner and operator of Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives (one of the few abortion clinics in the state) said, “This law is nothing but an attempt to make it impossible for women to obtain safe, legal abortion care. And in fact, the politicians have all but admitted as much with SB 363, which would severely curtail abortion access by banning a medically proven method of abortion.”
An article from Daily Kos echoed a similar sentiment, “But D&E is used in 96 percent of second-trimester abortions, according to the National Abortion Federation Abortion Training Textbook. Using this method endorsed by the World Health Organization as the safest and simplest way to terminate a pregnancy after 12 weeks of gestation, the abortion provider dilates the woman’s cervix and inserts surgical instruments into her uterus to remove fetal and placental tissue.”
The thing both these articles seems to miss is that it doesn’t matter how allegedly safe or accepted the procedure may be. No matter what, we know that a baby in its second trimester—a point where many preborn children can survive outside the womb—is much more than “fetal and placental tissue.” It’s a human life, one that is innocent, vulnerable, and completely deserving of protection.
Several other Democrats refused to take a position on the legislation, voting present instead of casting vote for or against the measure. Perhaps they are rethinking their position on life in womb and could not in good conscience vote against a bill that provides a path to life for these innocent children. We hope they will have the courage to stand up to the abortion lobby if a similar vote comes before them again.
As Democrats, we speak for the least of these. That includes the poor, the sick, the elderly, the minorities, the women, and the children—both born and unborn. We applaud the Alabama Democrats who continue to fight for the right to life, and we urge our Democrat allies to join us in protecting ALL life.