House GOP Whip on Alabama Pro-Life Law: I Voted for Similar Bill in Louisiana

By Alex Madajian | May 21, 2019 | 3:16pm EDT
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.)
(Getty Images)

( -- When asked if he supports Alabama’s new pro-life law that prohibits nearly all abortions, even in the cases of rape or incest, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said when he served in the Louisiana legislature he voted for a similar bill that banned abortion across the board except when the life of the mother was at risk.

The Alabama Human Life Protection Act -- which does not go into effect until Nov. 15 and which is going to be challenged in court – prohibits all abortions except when it is necessary “to prevent a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.”

On Tuesday, at a press conference at the Capitol, asked Rep. Scalise, “Do you support the recently passed Alabama bill which prohibits abortion, even cases of rape and incest?” 

Scalise said, “You know, I come from a state that typically has been rated for many years as the most pro-life in the nation: Louisiana. I’m very proud of that.  When I served in the state legislature, we had a bill to protect people and say that abortion should be illegal in our state. We had an exception for the life of the mother.  And I voted for that bill when I was in the state legislature.”

“I’m strongly pro-life,” he added, “and I do believe we ought to try to protect life at every stage and that's why protecting the life of the mother is an exception I’ve always supported. So that’s a law we have on our books in Louisiana.” 

Addressing the abortion debate on a national level, Scalise said, “Obviously these laws in the states are fought out not only in the state legislatures, but in the courts as well. So we’re going continue to see many different attempts to protect life.”

“I’m fighting here in Congress to put a federal law in place that protects the life of a baby that’s born outside of the womb alive,” he said, in reference to the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 962). 

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

This legislation has been blocked from a vote in the House by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D - Calif.) more than 40 times.

Scalise continued, “Right now, in many states they’re pushing extreme laws on the left to say if a baby is born alive, you can still kill the baby and call it an abortion. That is not abortion, that is murder.  And that baby should be protected in every state.”

“Unfortunately, right now in many states it is not protected and, in fact, you see Democrats try to usher in laws that allow you to kill a baby that’s born outside of the womb,” said Scalise. “That’s radical.” 

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

When asked further by if he supported exceptions to abortion in cases of rape and incest, Scalise replied, “Like I said, in Louisiana when we had the bill when I was in the state legislature, I voted for the bill that banned abortion, except in the case of protecting the life of the mother… that was the only exception.”

Some prominent GOP leaders have criticized the Alabama law. President Donald Trump, for instance, tweeted, “I am strongly Pro-Life, with the three exceptions - Rape, Incest and protecting the Life of the mother.”

 (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In addition, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has stated the Alabama law “goes further than I believe.”

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has said, “Personally, I would have the exceptions.” 

Former presidential candidate Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has explicitly stated, “I don’t support the Alabama law.”

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