Legislature on ‘conservative’ mission

Published 7:03 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The prodigious 2011 regular legislative session not only saw sweeping conservative fiscal changes to state government, the new Republican led legislative bodies also set out on an unmistakably conservative social mission.

This Legislature approved an illegal immigration law that mirrors the Arizona measure. In addition, this very conservative pro-life Legislature enacted a new strict anti abortion bill. The new law is patterned after a law Nebraska enacted in 2010. In fact, legislatures in more than 30 states are passing or moving forward with bills to restrict abortion rights that could prompt the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit the issue.

It has been 38 years since the high court has considered the abortion issue. The landmark 1974 Roe v. Wade ruling makes abortion legal up to a certain point in the life of the fetus. The logic or linchpin was based on the viability of an unborn child. In other words, at what point could the unborn live if birthed. However, over the past four decades medical science has progressed significantly reducing the time of viability by 8 to 10 weeks. It is now 20 weeks. Alabama’s law would ban elective abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy. This issue will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Two other major social issues were addressed by the legislature. These two measures are coming in the form of constitutional amendments and must be approved by you, the Alabama voter, on next year’s ballot. First, the legislature wants you to vote to opt out of Obama Care. If you approve the proposed measure, the law could be used as a vehicle to challenge in federal court the health care overhaul law passed by Congress last year. The federal law, if it stands, eventually will require most Americans to have health care coverage or face federal penalties. Alabama’s legislation would write into the state constitution that “a law or rule shall not compel directly or indirectly any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system.” Many states have passed similar legislation and some federal judges have already ruled in their favor.

Another provision that you will see on the 2012 ballot would rewrite the constitution to say that workers would be guaranteed secret ballots when voting whether to unionize a workplace. This constitutional amendment would ensure that Alabama remains a right-to-work state.