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Lawmakers approve bill declaring Alabama a 'right to life' state

(Wikimedia Commons/Boston)March For Life 2009 in Washington, DC

Republican lawmakers have passed a measure that would declare Alabama a "right to life" state by amending the state constitution.

The House of Representatives approved the bill on Thursday by a vote of 67–14 during what the leadership dubbed as "pro-life day," The Associated Press reported.

The proposal known as HB 98, seeks to amend the Alabama Constitution to make it a state policy to recognize and support the sanctity of life for the unborn. The amendment will largely be symbolic unless Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in 1973, is overturned.

"We want to make sure that at a state level, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, that the Alabama Constitution cannot be used as a mechanism by which to claim that there is a right to abortion," said state Rep. Matt Fridy, the bill's sponsor.

Planned Parenthood representatives called the proposal a "trigger law" that is aimed at speedily changing abortion access in the state in the event that 1973 Supreme Court decision is reversed.

"The net impact is that it would completely outlaw abortion access in the state of Alabama regardless of the situation. It is total ban," said Katie Glenn, the Alabama director of Planned Parenthood Southeast.

Nikema Williams, vice president of Planned Parenthood Southeast, added: "I don't think it can be overlooked that this is again playing politics with women's health to drive turnout in 2018."

Fridy maintained that Alabama is a "pro-life state" and disputed the notion that politics were at play.

Some conservatives are optimistic that there is a chance that the Roe v. Wade could be overturned now that President Donald Trump is in power. The president, who has recently nominated conservative Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, has vowed to appoint justices that are open to overturning Roe v. Wade.

Many believe that Trump may get another appointment during his term because of the age of some of the justices.

According to Alabama Today, the proposed constitutional amendment has already been passed in the state Senate. It will go before voters in 2018 if it is signed by the Gov. Robert Bentley. Other states such as Missouri and Utah have passed similar "right to life" measures.

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