Final Vote Delayed on Pro-Life Bill in Alabama After Senate Democrats Stage Mini-Revolt

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Alabama state Rep. John Rogers (D) has gotten a lot of attention as of late with his controversial comments justifying his opposition to a pro-life bill making its way through the state legislature.

Today, Senate Democrats are now making headlines for what happened in their chamber during the course of the vote on that same bill.

The Washington Post has the details on what went down:

After a shouting match broke out, the Alabama Senate on Thursday tabled an amendment to a controversial bill that would criminalize abortions by making performing the procedure a felony punishable by up to 99 years imprisonment.

The decision was made by voice vote, angering Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton and other Democrats who were seeking a roll-call vote on all issues related to the abortion bill.

They accused Alabama Lieut. Gov. Will Ainsworth, a Republican who presides over the senate, of being too quick on the gavel in moving forward with the voice vote and steamrolling over their concerns.

“At least treat us fairly and do it the right way,” Democratic Sen. Vivian Davis Figures said.

The Hill reports that the vote has been rescheduled for next week:

The Alabama state Senate changed course on Thursday after being poised to vote on a controversial abortion bill, moving to postpone a vote on the legislation until next week.

Lawmakers earlier Thursday had prepared to vote on legislation that would criminalize almost all abortions and make it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion in the state.

But, according to The Associated Press, Alabama lawmakers decided to table the vote on a proposed abortion ban after a dispute erupted in the state Senate when some Republicans removed exceptions for rape and incest from the bill. Debate on the bill has been delayed until next week, according to the AP.

Watch video of what went down below:

The Montgomery Advertiser reports that Ainsworth was technically right that a motion was made, but that it was done quickly without giving the opposition a chance to respond:

A review of tape of the proceedings showed that Chambliss did make a motion to table the amendment. But both Chambliss and Ainsworth moved quickly to make and sustain the motion, far more quickly than senators could reasonably move for a roll call vote on the motion.

Singleton had told the chamber before the vote he planned to call for roll calls on every motion. He was sharply critical of Ainsworth’s move after adjournment, saying the caucus had signaled a roll call vote by the raising of three senators’ hands.

“I’m saying to the lieutenant governor, let’s get it right,” he said. “We can still get there, but you don’t have to be gaveling us out, and act like you didn’t see three hands when we had three hands up there already raised.”


Ainsworth’s move also brought criticism from Republicans, including Senate Judiciary Committee chair Cam Ward, R-Alabaster. Ward said he supported the ban but wanted discussion on the bill.

This is what I call unnecessary drama. The Republicans have a super-majority in the state Senate, and are going to largely get what they want out of this bill. Next Tuesday when this issue is revisited, they need to roll it out the right way and let the debate play out and then let the chips fall where they may.

Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter.–


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