BIRMINGHAM — A group of citizens in Alabama are urging Governor Robert Bentley to stop the murder of preborn children in his state by Executive Order.
Proposal 16, the proposed draft of the requested executive order, states that “the Executive Branch of the State of Alabama shall use all powers at its disposal to prevent the voluntary taking of life of persons in the womb, from the moment of conception”. It goes on to declare that “all past and future opinions or orders from any branch of the Federal Government that fail to protect the inalienable right to life of all human beings are null, void, and unenforceable in Alabama”.
Like many abolitionists, the citizens behind Proposal 16 say the federal government overreached its powers in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, and that unconstitutional rulings ought to be defied.
Adoption attorney and Proposal 16 representative Samuel McClure pointed out that multiple states are already defying federal marijuana and immigration laws and noted that there is a strong historical precedent for such actions.
“The main thing the thirteen original states were scared of when they came together and surrendered a little bit of their sovereignty to the federal government was the consolidation of power, like the monarchy. So they put in the 10th amendment and said ‘the federal government only has these powers… everything else is reserved for the states,’” McClure said. He added that James Madison and Thomas Jefferson themselves wrote in the Kentucky Resolution that the federal government is prone to enlarge its powers to force construction of the constitution and that in such cases the states are duty-bound to interpose themselves and oppose this overreach.
According to McClure, Roe v. Wade, in which the court found the “right to privacy” in the penumbras—or shadowy parts—of the Constitution, was a prime example of the use of undelegated power of which Madison and Jefferson warned. “If that’s not a forced construction of the constitution to give the federal government the authority to say to the states, ‘you can’t use your power to protect certain persons at certain phases of development,’ I don’t know what is,” he said.
“This doctrine of nullification ingrained in the founding documents has a strong precedent and all we’re doing is asking our governor, who ran on a pro-life platform, who believes in pro-life protections, to act on his positions and save 16 babies from abortion every day in Alabama,” McClure added.
Alabama law already defines the unborn as persons and outlaws their killing as murder, but includes an exception for mothers and their authorized representatives. Proposal 16 advocates are asking for that exception to be removed.
So far, Bentley has refused to meet with Proposal 16 representatives. “We received a two-sentence email saying the governor will not meet with us,” McClure said.
However, he added that Bentley receives between 20 and 50 calls per day asking him to implement Proposal 16, and that the governor’s office has indicated it is paying attention to how many people care about the issue.
“We are like the persistent widow that Jesus talked about,” McClure said. He asked that anyone who supports this effort reach out to Bentley by calling (334) 242-7100 and asking him to act.
The Proposal 16 Movement, as representatives refer to it, plans to hold a press rally on the steps of the capitol at noon on April 1 at which they will read a letter from pro-life leaders to send a message to the governor: “The message is, ‘Governor Bentley, you can act, you should act, we want you to act, and if you don’t act, the blood of 16 babies [per day] is on your hands,’” McClure said.
The goal of Proposal 16 is to mobilize the pro-life citizens of Alabama to take action consistent with their beliefs. According to McClure, 80% of Alabama citizens claim to be pro-life, while only around 1% take any action to defend the preborn. He believes this effort will give more people the opportunity to do so.