Montgomery, AL — On January 11, the Alabama Supreme Court upheld
the convictions of two women on charges that ingesting illegal drugs during their pregnancies constituted chemical child endangerment. In upholding these convictions, the Court has set a precedent full of promise for pro-life advocates across the country. That precedent is that the unborn have been recognized as persons. As pro-life advocates are all too aware, the first move involved in legitimizing abortion is the denial of humanity to the unborn. The fetus is seen, rather, as having no identity, and no legal status, apart from that of the mother.
The women appealing conviction under § 26-15-3.2, Ala . Code 1975 were Amanda Helaine Borden Kimbrough and Hope Elisabeth Ankrom. Ankrom had tested positive for cocaine use several times prior to giving birth to a boy on January 31, 2009. The newborn boy himself tested positive for cocaine. She was arrested for chemical child endangerment on February 19 2009, and indicted that August 31. Ankrom challenged the indictment on the grounds that “the legislature intended for the statute to apply only to a child, not a fetus.” The trial court dismissed Ankrom’s motion. Ankrom subsequently pleaded guilty and was convicted. Her sentence was three years’ imprisonment, later suspended. Ankrom was placed on a one year probation.
Kimbrough, pregnant 25 weeks 5 days, was admitted to Helen Keller after complaining of. Both her doctor and the child’s father had complained to her about her use of methamphetamine, particularly during pregnancy. Kimbrough denied using methamphetamines, but she tested positive for methamphetamines after urine screening.
A Caesarian section was performed on Kimbrough and, at approximately 1:21 p.m., she delivered a baby boy she named Timmy Wayne Kimbrough (‘Timmy’). Timmy was not breathing when he was born; he was blue; and his heart rate was low for a newborn infant, approximately 80 beats per minute. Pedriatric staff who were present during the Caesarian section immediately began manual resuscitation efforts on Timmy. Initially, Timmy improved, with his heart rate rising above 100 beats per minute and his color
becoming more pinkish. Timmy was intubated and p l a c e d on a ventilator. However, after the intubation, Timmy’s condition declined rapidly and he died at 1:40 p.m.,19 minutes after he was born.
The pediatrician who treated Timmy opined that he had died from ‘respiratory arrest secondary to prematurity.’ However, Dr. Emily Ward, a medical examiner with the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences who performed an autopsy on Timmy, determined that Timmy had died from ‘acute methamphetamine intoxication.’
Kimbrough was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment, filed a motion to appeal the sentence, and has been free on bond during the appeal process. Her motion echoed Ankrom’s, insisting upon a distinction between born and unborn that ought to invalidate the State’s chemical endangerment law; further, that her conviction violated the Federal Equal Protection clause. The Supreme Court has disagreed, claiming that the Alabama State is particularly (but not exclusively) valid where the child is viable outside the womb.
According to the Court’s statement in upholding the convictions,
“The decision of this Court today is in keeping with the widespread legal recognition that unborn children are persons with rights that should be protected by law. Today, the only major area in which unborn children are denied legal protection is abortion, and that denial is only because of the dictates of Roe.”
“Furthermore, the decision in the present cases is consistent with the Declaration of Rights in the Alabama Constitution, which states that ‘all men are equally free and independent; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Since Roe v. Wade was decided by the US Supreme Court,children have died in their mothers’ wombs, according to the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s institute for keeping data. This translates to the absence of over 1 in 6 of all Americans, all under 40 years old. Among African-Americans, that figure is 1 in 4. This is an all-American holocaust, committed precisely in the name of freedom, whose victims are invisible to us.
The decision also comes against a background of conservative disarray following the November 6 2012 reelection of President Barack Obama, a blow that has led to much soul-searching among conservatives. In that soul-searching, many have called for the abandonment of social-conservative positions such as the defense of the unborn.
By Todd Jackson