News & Updates

June 13, 2011

Rich Pushes Abortion Bill Through On Last Day (Sand Mountain Reporter)

In the final minutes of the 2011 legislative session, Rep. Kerry Rich pushed a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy through the Alabama House of Representatives.

The bill originated in the House, and the Senate passed it with what Rich called “some technical amendment.” It sat on the House calendar for several days until the final day of the legislative session on Thursday.

“It was very difficult to get passed,” said Rich, the Albertville Republican sponsor of the bill. “We had it up three different times. We finally had to cut off debate to get a vote at 11:45 p.m.”

Rich said the basis of the bill remained the same, and the only changes were a technical error with section numbering and minor changes that would make reporting easier for the Department of Public Health.

“We had to concur in the House with a Senate amendment, and of course that gave the opposition opportunity to talk, filibuster and try to kill the bill,” Rich said.

Currently, abortions are allowed until the child is “viable,” or until the doctor declares it can survive outside of the womb. The new bill would stop abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is approximately six weeks earlier, according to Rich. According to the Department of Public Health, 79 abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy were performed in Alabama in 2009.

“I and many others believe that’s probably a low number,” Rich said. “This bill strengthens some of the reporting requirements so it’s not nearly as easy to look over one and not report it. The problem is not with the Department of Public Health, but it’s possibly with some of the physicians that perform abortions.”

The bill is based on studies that prove an unborn child can feel pain after 20 weeks of pregnancy, but “some evidence shows they can feel pain at 14-18 weeks,” he said.

“As medical knowledge progresses, we may be able to lower that number,” Rich said. “Abortion would be eliminated for that reason, so the child would not suffer pain.”

Rich said he expects the governor to sign the bill sometime this week.

For More Information Visit This Website: Rich Pushes Abortion Ban Bill Through State House

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