Three new bills in Alabama would redefine "person" as "any human being from the moment of fertilization or the functional equivalent thereof" — and require that all uses of the word "person" in the state constitution be accompanied by "all humans from the moment of fertilization." In addition to no doubt upping the state's printing budget, the bills could have the effect of banning all abortions.
According to The American Independent, the bills, introduced by Republican state Sen. Phil Williams and Rep. John Merrill, were introduced last week and are currently in the Health Committees of the state Senate and House, respectively. The anti-abortion intent of the Senate bill is clear from a statement issued by Personhood USA, in which Williams states,
We must protect all Alabama children. At the same time we have to send a message that Alabamians value the sanctity of life. Every heartbeat is as important as the next.
Of course, fetuses don't actually have heartbeats until several weeks after "the moment of fertilization," but Williams may not be all that concerned with specifics. Also in the statement, Ben Dupre, an attorney with the anti-choice Foundation for Moral Law, compares anti-abortion activism to the fight for civil rights:
America used to define the meaning of ‘person' along racial lines; now we draw the line at the womb. Personhood legislation finally gives equal protection of the laws to the unborn as well as the born, and from the first moment of human life.
Unlike recent legislation such as the Ohio "heartbeat bill," which is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the Alabama bills aim to exploit an alleged loophole in that decision. Dupre pointed the American Independent to the following language: