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  • Jimmy Sandlin

ALABAMA: THE RIGHT TO BIRTH STATE (AFTER THAT YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN)

Updated: Jul 21, 2020




For many years it was my job to protect abused and neglected children. Let me tell you it was a difficult and emotionally taxing experience. The children I encountered were burned, shot, beaten, raped, starved and even murdered by the people who were supposed to love and nurture them. Many of these children shared 3 common traits. They were unplanned, unwanted and unloved. 

Finding a safe and loving environment for abused children is not an easy task. I was always grateful for the families who stepped up to serve as foster parents, and especially those who made the ultimate commitment of adoption. But inevitably there were children who were too severely damaged by the abuse they had endured to be chosen by a family. These children were relegated to state homes until reaching adulthood, then pushed out into the world to make it on their own. 

The State of Alabama has recently passed legislation which outlaws almost all abortions. The banner under which this legislation was passed is, “All children have a right to life.” If this is our motto, we have a tremendous amount of work to do. I personally believe that what our legislature and our governor meant to say was, “All children have a right to be born.” After that, we begin to care much less about their lives. If life begins at conception, does it end at birth? 

This article is not an opinion on the issue of abortion. I have my personal views but the message here relates to the thousands of children who have been born in this state and yet are denied the right to life. They are denied a safe and loving home by laws which protect parents and treat children as property. They are denied adequate health care by limiting access to Medicaid and allowing rural hospitals to close. They are denied a proper education due to an inequitable school funding system. They are denied access to mental health care treatment through the wholesale closure of many of our state mental health care facilities.  

Recently State Representative John Rogers made the following statement in support of abortion, “We can either kill them now or kill them later.” This statement received nationwide attention and was characterized as bizarre and cruel. Ironically, on the same day the governor signed the right to life bill into law, the state executed a man who murdered his father and three other people when he was 19 years old. Maybe Representative Rogers’ statement was not so bizarre after all. 

We have now declared, “every child has a right to life.” If this is really our intent, we must enable them to have a life worth living.

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