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This Appalling Alabama Bill Would Allow Prosecution of Abortion Patients for Murder

Conservative lawmakers in Alabama are pushing one of the country’s most disturbing anti-abortion bills yet.

Earlier this week, Republican state Rep. Ernie Yarbrough introduced HB454, which would allow law enforcement officers to prosecute certain abortion patients for murder or assault. Yes, you read that correctly.

As reported, the bill proposes expanding the state’s definition of “person” to begin at fertilization, thereby granting fetuses the same rights as living homicide victims. In other words, people who get abortions could be prosecuted as if they’d committed “homicide or assault of a person born alive.”

As if that weren’t appalling enough, HB454 would also permit the prosecution of people whose pregnancy ends as a result of “negligence” or “reckless” behavior. That opens the door for the criminalization of miscarriages too.

Abortions are already illegal in Alabama at all stages of pregnancy. However, a 2019 state law called the Human Life Protection Act prohibits prosecution of abortion patients. If HB454 becomes law, it would override this, further endangering pregnant people who need abortions in the Yellowhammer State.

“From the moment a person is pregnant — whether they are aware or not — that person will now be in immediate danger of being accused of a murder,” Robin Marty, director of operations for the West Alabama Women’s Center, told Abortion, Every Day. “For a state with no sex ed, no birth control, no insurance and no hospitals to now order them to give birth to a healthy baby or go to jail is unconscionable. We cannot let this happen.”

The bill now goes to Alabama’s House Judiciary Committee, who will determine whether it should return to the state House for a vote.

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