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Alabama Baby Q lawsuit tackles Roe v. Wade from eugenics and states’ rights argument

Sam McLure, plaintiffs' attorney in the Baby Q, class-action lawsuit, said it's important to fight Roe. v. Wade from the state level.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (BP) – The inalienable right to life of preborn Black babies and states’ rights are the basis of a class-action lawsuit joined by 46 Alabama legislators calling for an end to abortion in the state.

Sam McLure, plaintiffs’ attorney in Baby Q, et al. v. Gov. Kay Ivey and AG Marshall, et al., said it’s important to fight Roe. v. Wade from the state level, because the federal ruling legalized abortion nationwide regardless of state laws already in place.

“We think that if the U.S. Supreme Court is going to overturn Roe v. Wade, they need to see a robust state system that is trying to protect children,” McLure said. “And we want the U.S. Supreme Court to say, ‘Hey look, we should never have been in the abortion licensing business. It should have been left to the states. Here’s a state that’s doing it. We’re going to rule we got Roe v. Wade wrong, and every state like Alabama should be able to determine the destiny and protection of their children.'”

McLure filed the lawsuit Oct. 16, 2020, in Montgomery County Circuit Court on behalf of preborn Black babies in Alabama. He cited a longstanding argument that Planned Parenthood was founded by Margaret Sanger expressly to prevent the birth of Black babies, and that clinics are disproportionately located in communities of color. Planned Parenthood has consistently denied the claims.

“The history is undeniable,” McLure told Baptist Press. “That was the intended purpose of the abortion industry and continues to be the outcome of the abortion industry, where 60 percent of the abortions in Alabama come from African American mothers, and (Blacks) only represent 27 percent of the population.

“It’s a disparate impact. It’s in my opinion a targeted impact. That’s part of the logic is that that is a fact. Now do we only care about Black babies? Of course not. We care about all babies.”

Baby Q, the lawsuit’s namesake and a representative of preborn Black babies in Alabama, is expected to be born this month, state Rep. Arnold Mooney said in a press conference Tuesday (Feb. 9) announcing the support of 46 legislators for Baby Q. The legislators are asking Gov. Ivey and Atty. Gen. Steve Marshall, both Republicans, to enforce Alabama Constitutional Amendment 930, which recognizes “the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life.”

A federal judge has declared unconstitutional and inoperative in court the Alabama Human Life Protection Act of 2018, passed after voters approved the amendment.

“As legislators, it is our job to enforce the laws of our state as best we can, especially an amendment passed overwhelmingly by the people of our state,” Mooney said at the press conference. “The failure to do so can be very costly and deadly, and in fact, it is. … These babies and the voters of Alabama deserve their day in court. Everybody else gets their day in court.”

McLure said the Baby Q case rests legally on the U.S. Constitution’s Ninth Amendment, which says the U.S. Constitution does not abridge or abrogate rights that previously existed as common law, and the Tenth Amendment, which states that matters not covered in the U.S. Constitution are left to the states.

In deciding Roe v. Wade in 1973, justices said the Constitution is silent on the rights of unborn children, supporters of the lawsuit said Tuesday.

McLure made an impassioned plea for his case at Tuesday’s press conference, referencing the number of slaves held in Alabama before the Emancipation Proclamation.

“It’s a remarkable day where Alabama has come from,” McLure said. “Between 1800 and 1840, Alabama grew from 40,000 unjustly stolen slaves to over 400,000, over two dozen slave licenses active in the city of Montgomery. We’ve come from there, people, to now we have 46 members of the Alabama Legislature standing up, standing on the principle of protecting the weak and the vulnerable, and saying no more, interposing themselves for the arresting of evil to protect preborn African American babies.”