We are facing the most significant human rights issue of our lifetimes. States like Georgia, Mississippi, Ohio, and my home state of Alabama are fighting on the front lines of a nationwide movement to protect life.
Sixty million lives have been lost to abortion since Roe v. Wade. Now, state legislatures are finally taking a stand.
As a former policy advisor to the Governor of Alabama and clerk for the Attorney General, I have seen first hand the constant struggle to protect what a majority of voters in my state agree is precious life. Since Roe, the people of Alabama have consistently fought to protect the lives of the unborn, and now, we see an opportunity to succeed.
The new Alabama abortion law, as well as those in other states, is not intended to have any immediate legal effect. Lawmakers know that it will almost certainly be struck down by federal courts. However, legislators see this as a ripe moment for the Supreme Court to revisit its controversial Roe decision. They hope that the Court will finally affirm a state’s ability to legislate according to its citizens’ values and beliefs. At the very least, lawmakers hope the court will offer a better explanation for why abortion is permitted in the Constitution and abandon Roe’s convoluted right to privacy argument. These laws are designed to challenge years of judicial overreach into the states’ ability to govern themselves.
States have taken extreme measures to combat this judicial overreach.
This week, the Alabama legislature took a stand to unequivocally declare that the people of Alabama believe all life in the womb has rights equal to any citizen of the United States. The failure to include an exception for rape or incest was not intended as an attack on women, but to strengthen the state’s argument that all life is precious. I know for a fact that if Roe v. Wade is struck down that Alabama would amend the law regarding rape and incest which account for less than 1% of all abortions.
I served on the board of Sav-A-Life for many years, working to provide access to healthcare and child services for women with crisis pregnancies.
I have seen many instances where women chose to keep their child after they realized that they had a loving and supportive community around them. I have also seen the many difficult decisions surrounding pregnancy that women face each day. What I like about the Alabama law is that it does not punish women for making those difficult decisions, only the doctors who perform abortions. Statistics show that most of the women who seek abortions are pressured into them by the men in their lives. The men who are unwilling to help and support the potential mother of their child are the ones I hold in low regard not the woman who face that very difficult circumstance.
Surprising to some, abortion rates have steadily decreased over the past 25 years – from a peak of 1.6 million in 1990 to around 900,000 today.
In addition to a few restrictions that states have been able to place on abortions, many other factors have contributed to this decline. The availability of technology that allows one to actually see the baby in the womb has made the decision to have an abortion much more personal. The organized pro-life movement has had great success in raising awareness about the atrocities of abortion procedures. Additionally, expanded access to reproductive care and education has demonstrated that outlawing abortion is not the only way to protect innocent lives. Just like any other crisis faced by our nation, a holistic approach that includes legal, medical, and faith communities is the best way to simultaneously protect the unborn and the rights of women.
However, this decline may also represent a larger cultural shift across the nation.
While the majority of the country has trended to the left on almost every other major social issue, abortion is one with which many have begun to lean more conservative. A majority of states no longer see unlimited abortions as a societal good.
In some ways, the recent abortion laws were passed in response to extreme and appalling laws in New York and Virginia that would allow limitless abortions, even after birth.
Due to these steep divisions, I believe that the people of each state should be able to elect representatives who pass legislation that reflects their values and beliefs. If Alabamians overwhelmingly believe in the sanctity of life in the womb, they should be able to elect legislatures that restrict access to abortions and promote practices to protect the lives of the unborn. If citizens of New York value a woman’s right to privacy more than life in the womb, they should be able to elect legislatures that expand access to abortion. A Supreme Court decision that restores the right of the states to legislate according to their values would be more monumental than any ruling on the permissibility of abortion.
This renewed pro-life movement is not a war on women. Nor is it an attempt to insert the religious values of one particular group into the laws of the majority.
The war on abortion is a fight to protect innocent lives that are terminated under the guise that it is someone’s “choice” to do so. It is a fight to restore the system of self-governance that our nation’s founders envisioned would lead to a more perfect union governed by the will of the people. It is a fight that will be the defining struggle of our generation.
I am proud that my home state has taken such a strong stand in order to protect innocent life. Attorney General Steve Marshall and our secretary of State John Merrill have done amazing work on this issue and I must also commend former Senator Scott Beason who started pushing for this bill 9 years ago and worked behind the scenes on this piece of legislation. I applaud the work done by Alabama legislators to insure that our state’s laws reflect the values and beliefs of the majority, and I hope that the Supreme Court will take the opportunity to restore our ability to govern for ourselves.
Christopher Reid is an attorney out of Birmingham who owns his own general practice law firm, which handles Business, Family, and Probate Law and high-end litigation throughout the state of Alabama. Reid has held various policy positions, including working for the Alabama Policy Institute and the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C., where he also worked for House Republican Whip Roy Blunt. In law school, he clerked for the Alabama Attorney General Office, and, after graduation, he became Health and Judiciary Policy Analyst for Alabama’s governor. His charitable work includes serving on the board of Sav-A-Life. Chris is a frequent co-host on The Scott Beason Show in Birmingham, writes political and legal commentary for publications including The Hill, The Washington Examiner, and has been quoted in The New Yorker. He regularly provides on-air expertise and political commentary for TV news shows on Fox, NBC, and questsin with JD Hayworth. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.