22 Jan 2014
By Lee Hedgepeth
Alabama Political Reporter
Yesterday in the Alabama House of Representative, the topic was health care providers and issues like sterilization, stem cell research, and the Plan B pill. On the House agenda was a bill sponsored by Republican Representative Becky Nordgren which would prevent any retribution or liability for a health care worker who refused to perform a procedure on medical grounds.
Democrats like Birmingham Representative Patricia Todd took Nordgren to task, saying that the law addresses non-problems that just are “not the most pressing issues in Alabama.” Todd said that the GOP were merely “throwing red meat” at their base by demonstrating their opposition to abortion through the proposed legislation.
The bill, which did eventually pass the House, does include an exception for health care workers at abortion clinics and an exception for patients in life threatening circumstances, though some questioned just how far these protections could actually reach.
Representative Coleman-Evans (D) pressed on the issue of the bill's practicality, and whether it would even be readily administrated. “In an emergency situation, who will know what nurses will do what? Who has time to call and check the files for Nurse A, B, and C, and Orderlies A and b”
Eventually, Representative April Weaver of Shelby, who has worked in health care for twenty years, went to the lectern to debate Coleman-Evans. “You're really off focus with this,” she began.
As always, though, Representative Alvin Homes of Montgomery stole the show. He took the floor in opposition of the bill, pointing out that though he is personally against abortion, “it is really up to the lady.” “If I could give the order,” he said, “I'd tell 'em to keep the baby.” But this bill, he said, was about choice. With Representative Homes again and again returning to the topic of abortion, Representative Nordgren eventually said “My personal beliefs have nothing to do with the intent of this bill.” Democrats jeered audibly.
Alabama Political Reporter recorded most of the audio of the debate, which can be heard here:
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