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Alabama Personhood Begins at Fertilization Question (2012)

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The Alabama Personhood Begins at Fertilization Question did not make the 2012 ballot in the state of Alabama as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure would have asked voters whether or not to change the definition of "person" to describe any human at the beginning of fertilization. The formal title of the measure that was introduced during 2011 state legislative session was Senate Bill 301. The proposal was introduced by State Senator Phil Williams. However, it was not passed during that session.

There were reports, however, that Williams would introduce another similar measure during 2012 state legislative session. However, no such measure was placed on the ballot[1]

Other 2011 proposals

Another identical measure, House Bill 405, was introduced by State Representative John Merrill. Merrill also filed another bill, House Bill 409 that would amend the Alabama Constitution to where every time the word "person" is used, that would include humans from the moment of fertilization.[2]


The following is information obtained from the supporting side of the measure:

  • According to Phil Williams who planned to introduce the measure during 2012 state legislative session: "The fact is, I believe that life is life. What happened in the House [with the 2011 session "personhood" proposal] is it could not get out of committee with a pure version that said, ‘from the moment of conception or fertilization.' It was amended on the Senate floor to ‘moment of implantation.'"[1]

Path to the ballot

Article XVIII of the Alabama Constitution says that it takes a three-fifths (60%) vote of the Alabama State Legislature to qualify an amendment for the ballot.

See also