This year, the Republicans in the Alabama House of Representatives have introduced a bill which they claim will prohibit abortions performed on children with detectable heartbeats. I applaud these legislators for their desire to save lives and end abortion, but this bill is not a good solution to the problem. Our legislators have a very simple solution available to them which would make all abortions illegal, but instead of passing this simple and effective law, they have chosen to continue down a very dangerous course that actually strengthens the case for abortion.
This bill has several major flaws, but today, I would like to focus on the section that I found the most alarming:
Alabama’s Fetal Heartbeat Bill legalizes euthanasia.
In Section 2 of the Fetal Heartbeat Bill, an attempt is made to define the word “abortion” in a way that would prevent this bill from prohibiting certain kinds of abortions. According to this section:
An abortion is defined as the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device with the intent to terminate the pregnancy of a woman known to be pregnant with knowledge that the termination by those means will with reasonable likelihood cause the death of the unborn child.
This sounds like a reasonable definition of abortion, but apparently, the crafters of this bill thought that it was just a little bit too thorough. Using this definition of abortion would cause the Fetal Heartbeat Bill to prohibit abortions that these lawmakers think should still be allowed. So they added a few additional statements to this definition to ensure that the abortions they want to be legal would not be prohibited by this bill. In particular, they added this statement:
The term “abortion” as used in these rules, does not include a procedure or act to terminate the pregnancy of a woman with an ectopic pregnancy, nor does it include the procedure or act to terminate the pregnancy of a woman when the unborn child has a lethal anomaly.
I have written previously about Alabama’s decision to redefine abortions for ectopic pregnancies, but this bill would introduce a second redefinition into Alabama law. Under the terms of the Fetal Heartbeat Bill, doctors would have a legally guaranteed right to euthanize prenatal children. Yes, you read that correctly. The Fetal Heartbeat Bill which is supposed to be a great way to save lives actually legalizes euthanasia. And consider the next line of the definition. After stating that killing a prenatal child with a lethal anomaly is not an abortion, this bill also provides a definition of “lethal anomaly:”
For the purposes of this act, a “lethal anomaly” means that the child has been diagnosed before birth with a condition that, with reasonable medical certainty, will result in the death of the child within three months after birth, or would die at birth or be stillborn.
Do you see the very dangerous legal precedent that is being set here? According to the Fetal Heartbeat Bill, if a child is expected to die soon, then it is okay to go ahead and kill him now. This kind of “mercy killing” is exactly what is meant by the term “euthanasia.” I am certain that none of the sponsors of this bill would ever support a bill that legalizes euthanasia for people that have already been born, but by supporting the Fetal Heartbeat Bill, they are advocating prenatal euthanasia.
I don’t know about you, but I cannot sit idly by and allow my legislators to legalize euthanasia in Alabama. I have found that most legislators do not take the time to actually read the bills that they pass into law, so I am planning to contact every single member of the House of Representatives (both Republican and Democrat) and inform them of this provision of the Fetal Heartbeat Bill. Then, I plan to encourage them to vote against this bill and protect our state from such a dangerous precedent. I want our legislators to enact pro-life laws, but a bill that saves some lives by unnecessarily sacrificing others is not a good bill. Will you join me in contacting Alabama’s legislators and encouraging them to stand against the Fetal Heartbeat Bill?