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Big, Big Government: Alabama Strong Arms Jailed Woman To Stop Abortion

Alabama leads the nation in extremism when it comes to abortion.

Matt Osborne has some eye-opening coverage on the recent confab of anti-abortion extremists groups in Alabama, not-so-curiously timed to coincide with the edited videos David Daleiden is using to smear Planned Parenthood. The one above is of Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy "Ten Commandments" Moore opening the confab with a rip-roaring speech about the little babies and evil women who abort them.

Small government? Oh, hell no. And this new story just highlights how large and incredibly intrusive right-wing extremist government is when it comes to women trying to obtain a very legal and safe abortion.

A woman has been jailed. She is pregnant. The state of Alabama is working overtime to make sure she cannot elect to have an abortion. Until yesterday, she was being represented by ACLU attorneys who were fighting a motion by the county attorney to have her parental rights terminated so she could not have an abortion. Then suddenly, miraculously, she decided, well, maybe she didn't want one after all.

An Alabama woman who sued in federal court to leave jail for a first-trimester abortion, and who faced the termination of her parental rights in response, has now signed an affidavit with a new lawyer saying she no longer wants the procedure. The news has come as a surprise to her prior attorneys, who have been helping her access an abortion, and who say they have not yet spoken to their client.

“After much consideration and counsel, I have decided that I no longer desire to pursue an abortion procedure and intend to carry the unborn child to full term and birth,” the affidavit reads in part. It was filed on Wednesday night by a new attorney, Maurice McCaney, who was court-appointed to defend the woman when the county attorney moved to terminate her parental rights.

The woman is known as Jane Doe and is being detained in Florence, Alabama, for charges that have been publicly withheld to respect her privacy.

It will come as no surprise to you to discover her "new" attorney has strong ties to the evangelical Christian establishment in Alabama that comprises the anti-abortion extremist movement.


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Brigitte Amiri, an attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project who is also working on the case, told msnbc, “Our concern is that this has come quickly and has come quite contrary to her strong desire, expressed multiple times, that she obtain an abortion.” The meeting that resulted in the affidavit came as Elizabeth Berry, a criminal defense attorney who has worked most closely with Jane Doe in Florence, was traveling.

McCaney declined to comment further to msnbc, citing his client’s privacy, but did confirm that he is the same person listed as vice-chancellor of Victory Christian Academy. The affidavit makes repeated mention of the phrase “unborn child” and says, “I have arrived at this decision of my own volition and choosing without any promise of present and/or future consideration and without any undue influence, duress, or threat of harm.”

A federal judge was expected to rule by tomorrow on Jane Doe’s request to have an abortion in Huntsville, about two hours from Florence. Initially, the sheriff informed Jane Doe that she could only leave the jail for an abortion with a court order, citing jail policy. But when the county attorney got involved, a different rationale was offered.

Can you guess what that "different rationale" was?

District attorney Chris Connolly moved earlier this week to terminate Jane Doe’s parental rights, apparently to block her from having an abortion. To reporters, he cited an Alabama Supreme Court decision that allowed pregnant women to be charged under chemical endangerment laws, and contrary to the wishes of Jane Doe’s attorneys to keep her charges private, said she faced such a charge. Marshall told msnbc that the Supreme Court decision didn’t apply, because that opinion concerned only post-viability fetuses, and the woman has a constitutional right to end her pregnancy before viability.

This is Alabama, where women are criminalized for being pregnant and exercising their own legal, constitutionally guaranteed right to make a choice about whether to carry a pregnancy or not. As you see, the District Attorney had no qualms about revealing the fact that she was jailed on drug charges.

I imagine the conversation went like this. "Jane Doe, we will not charge you with chemical endangerment if you agree to carry the 'unborn child' to term. But if you press forward with your demand for an abortion, we will throw the entire book at you and you'll stay in this jail for life."

Here's what poor Jane Doe must not realize. If she drops her request for an abortion, and there's even one problem with that pregnancy, they'll charge her with endangerment anyway. They'll terminate her parental rights, they'll force her to give birth to a child she does not want, then they'll put that child into a system that does not want the child.

This is how it is in Alabama. Will it go this way for the entire nation?

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