Alabama State Sen. Shadrack McGill (R-Macedonia) said this week that he plans to reintroduce a bill this year that would grant legal personhood rights to a human fertilized egg and ban abortion at all stages.
“Did you know you can be charged up to $250,000 for destroying an eagle egg, but you can destroy babies in the womb?” McGill asked a reporter for the Times-Journal.
Fetal personhood bills have gained notoriety since 2011 because they could ban some forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization in addition to outlawing abortion. Mississippi voters rejected a personhood measure in 2011, and a similar measure has repeatedly failed to make it onto the ballot in Colorado. North Dakota lawmakers are scheduled to vote on a version of the bill on Thursday.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who reportedly has 2016 presidential ambitions, has also cosponsored a fetal personhood bill in Congress. The Sanctity of Human Life Act, reintroduced this year by Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), specifies that a "one-celled human embryo," even before it implants in the uterus to create a pregnancy, should be granted "all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood."
McGill said passing a personhood law would be a no-brainer for him because of his religious beliefs. "Just based on the scripture alone, the psalm that talks about God knowing us before he placed us in our mother’s womb, is enough for me to know that that is a life inside of a mother,” McGill told the Times-Journal. “So my question concerning aborted babies is, where do they go, heaven or hell? I just want to know what [people’s] perspective is.”
In response to the bill's critics who say that it could affect the legality of in vitro fertilization, McGill said he believes a fertilized egg is a child whether it is conceived inside a woman's body or "creatively outside the mother's womb," according to the Times-Journal.
State Sen. Roger H. Bedford Jr. (D), who served as Alabama Senate minority leader until several weeks ago, could not be reached for comment. ACLU Alabama also could not be immediately reached for comment.
Alabama legislators will consider several other anti-abortion bills in addition to McGill's personhood bill in its current legislative session, which began on Tuesday.
CORRECTION: The original article stated that Sen. Roger H. Bedford Jr. is the Alabama Senate minority leader. State Sen. Vivian Figures (D-Mobile) replaced Bedford in February.