A Pro-Life Day in the Senate
The Senate went into session at 0900. After dispensing with several local bills the Senate moved into a debate of several “Pro-Life” bills.
The first bill up was SB202 by Senator Reed. This bill relates to the Affordable Health Care Act (aka Obama Care) and operation and maintenance of “health insurance exchanges." Health insurance plans offering abortion coverage are allowed to participate in a state's exchange and to receive federal subsidies unless the Legislature affirmatively opts out of offering these plans. This bill specifically provides that the State of Alabama opts out of allowing abortion coverage by exchange participating health plans. Those opposed to the bill based their position on the fact that some people will need federal subsidies in order to be able to afford to have an abortion. The flaw in that logic is that an abortion is acceptable. The Bill passed in a 25 – 7 vote.
The next bill taken up was SB281 by Senator McGill. The intent of this bill is for private health insurance plans and policies offered in Alabama shall only offer abortion coverage through the purchase, by an individual policyholder, of a separate rider and through the payment of an additional premium for such coverage. Those opposed to this bill provided varying arguments…all of which were thinly veiled Pro-Choice arguments. The bill passed in a 25 – 7 vote.
The next bill debated was SB298 by Senator Allen. The intent of this bill is for to establish the Abortion-Inducing Drug Safety Act which would make it unlawful to administer any abortion-inducing drug to a woman without her receiving an exam by a physician and provide a physician with guidelines to follow in administering an abortion-inducing drug. Again, those opposed to this bill provided varying arguments, thinly veiled Pro-Choice arguments. The bill passed in a 26 – 6 vote.
SB301 by Senator Williams was debated next. This bill provides that the term "persons" as used in the Code of Alabama shall include all humans from the moment of fertilization in the womb. The bill passed in a 23 – 7 vote.
The next bill was SB308 by Senator Scofield. This bill requires a physician to perform an ultrasound, provide verbal explanation of the ultrasound, and display the images to the pregnant woman before performing an abortion. This bill does not prevent a pregnant woman from averting her eyes from the ultrasound images when shown to her and would not apply to an abortion performed in the case of a medical emergency. I have reservations with the part about the requirement to display the ultrasound imagines to the mother but had little support to amend the bill as introduced. The bill passed in a 26 – 3 vote.
By all counts we had a banner day today protecting the unborn children in Alabama. I am proud to have been a part of these histoic votes and thank my fellow Senators for their work and support on these bills.
Apparently it was considered a slow news day by the Huntsville Times Montgomery reporter, Bob Lowry. The Senate passed 5 Pro-Life bills and what did he report on? The fact that I and a couple of other Senators sleep in our offices (no surprise to regular readers of this blog)…some real, investigative reporting here Mr. Lowry. I apologize for working 15 - 18 hour days and being efficient in Montgomery, folks!
The Democrats, lead by Senator Smitherman, are determined to filibuster every bill we bring up. Other bills we’ve worked this evening include the House versions of the budgets and illegal immigration bills. As both the Senate and House have different versions, we had to vote to move them into conference committees to hammer out the differences. The bills will then come back up for final concurrence on changes agreed to in committee.
Tomorrow is a rare Wednesday legislative day (meaning we will be in session). We still have several bills in the works that we hope to pass to the House before the end of the week. We will also hold committee meetings tomorrow making for a full day. I’ll chair the final Veteran’s and Military Affairs Committee meeting of the session and attend the Children and Youth Affairs and Small Business Committee meetings. I’ll also present the AT-PRO Bill to the Education Fund Committee tomorrow morning. I’ll post more on that tomorrow. It's a little after 9 PM and we are still at it tonight...