- Associated Press - Friday, April 22, 2016

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - An Alabama “personhood” bill which would have effectively banned abortion in the state failed to make it to a vote Thursday in the House of Representatives.

After House Democrats mounted a filibuster, the House adjourned before getting to Republican Rep. Ed Henry’s proposed constitutional amendment.

With only five meeting days left in the legislative session, it’s unlikely the bill will come to the floor again.

“There’s no time,” Henry said. “It’s essentially dead.”

Henry’s bill sought to legally define a fetus as a person from the moment of fertilization. The bill’s language, if approved by Alabama voters, would have effectively banned abortion and could have affected some forms of birth control and in-vitro fertilization techniques.

Brock Boone, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer, last month called the bill an “attack on women.” In addition to the bill’s effects on abortion, Boone warned it could render some forms of birth control the “legal equivalent of homicide.”

Henry last week said his bill was not a “direct attack” on abortion, but Alabamians should have a chance to express their opinions.

“If Alabamians believe life begins after conception, it does cause abortion to be in conflict with our values,” Henry said.

Similar ballot measures were voted down in Mississippi, Colorado and North Dakota in recent years. The Oklahoma Supreme Court in 2012 ruled a “personhood” amendment unconstitutional.

Henry’s bill was one of three abortion-related bills to make it through committee this legislative session. On Wednesday, the House health committee gave favorable report to a bill which would ban a commonly used second-trimester abortion procedure.

The committee also passed a bill to keep abortion clinics at least 2,000 feet away from public schools, which would directly impact at least one existing facility in the state.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Paul Sanford, had previously said he was amenable to an amendment to grandfather in an existing facility in Huntsville, but the committee on Wednesday tabled an amendment that would do so.


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