When the Alabama state House passed a law this week to criminalize abortion in almost all circumstances, Democratic state Rep. John Rogers launched a bizarre argument against it: that unwanted children will die anyway.
“It ought to be a woman’s choice. I’m not about to be a male to tell a woman what to do with her body. She has a right to make a decision herself,” Rogers told his fellow lawmakers on the House floor on Wednesday. “Some kids are unwanted, so you kill them now or you kill them later. You bring them into the world unwanted, unloved, then send them to the electric chair.”
Under the Alabama bill, which would be one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the country, abortions would only be legal when the pregnancy poses a “serious health risk” to the mother. There would be no exception for rape or incest, and doctors who perform an abortion could be jailed for up to 99 years.
Unsurprisingly, Rogers’ words sparked a backlash from conservatives across the country.
Alabama Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed, a Republican, called them “chilling.”
“‘Kill them now, or you kill them later?’ His comments should be condemned at the state and national level,” Reed said in a statement.
Donald Trump Jr. chimed in and tweeted a video of Rogers alongside the words, “This is stomach curling.”
Rogers, for his part, seems unruffled by the whole controversy. When asked about Trump Jr.’s tweet, Rogers told a local reporter on Thursday, “Hey, that’s an honor.” He also called Trump Jr. “crazy” and used a slur for people with intellectual disabilities.
“Donald Trump’s son, I know there’s something wrong with that boy,” Rogers continued. “That’s the best evidence I got for abortion right there, looking at him.”
After those comments, even a member of Rogers’ own party, Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, rebuked the state legislator.
“The rhetoric of Rep. John Rogers gets more appalling each time he speaks,” Jones tweeted, alongside a link to Rogers’ interview about Trump. “He does not speak for the people of Alabama and is in fact offending all Alabamians with his crude and reprehensible comments.”
During debate over the Alabama bill, state legislators tabled an amendment that would’ve added exceptions for rape and incest (meaning that the proposal never even came up for a vote). The bill’s sponsor, state Republican Rep. Terri Collins, said such an amendment would lessen the bill’s ability to challenge Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.
Since Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court last fall, anti-abortion activists have started introducing increasingly restrictive bills in the hopes of toppling Roe in a lawsuit.
The Alabama bill ended up passing the state House 74-3, after many of the House Democrats walked out of the vote, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. In his statement, Reed said that the Republican-controlled state Senate now “looks forward to debating and voting on this important pro-life measure in the coming days.”
Cover image: Sen. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, speaks during the House session at the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Ala., Tuesday, April 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)