An Alabama lawmaker who remarked “kill them now or kill them later” during debate on an abortion bill said he was trying to criticize politicians’ focus on abortion as they neglect social services.
The comments by Democratic Rep. John Rogers of Birmingham drew widespread attention on social media — including condemnation from Donald Trump, Jr. — two days after they were made on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives.
The Birmingham Democrat made the comment as lawmakers debated a bill to outlaw almost all abortions in the state by making it a felony to perform an abortion. The bill contains no exemptions for rape and incest.
“Some kids are unwanted. So you kill them now or kill them later. You bring them into the world unwanted and unloved, then send them to the electric chair. So you kill them now or kill them later. But the bottom line is that we shouldn’t be making this decision,” Rogers said during the debate.
Rogers said during a later interview that Alabama hasn’t expanded Medicaid, has a violent prison system and has neglected social services.
“They are being hypocritical. They are killing them anyway,” Rogers said.
Republicans sharply condemned Rogers for the remarks.
Donald Trump, Jr. commented on Twitter that Rogers’ comments were “stomach curling.”
Alabama Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed called the comments “chilling.” Alabama Republican Party Chairwoman Terry Lathan also condemned the comments.
“During an abortion bill debate in the Alabama House of Representatives Tuesday, Democrat State Representative John Rogers made stunningly abhorrent and callous remarks about aborting children,” Lathan said.
Rogers said he stood by his comments.
“I don’t agree with abortion myself, but I think that ought to be a woman’s decision to make about her body.”
The Alabama House of Representatives approved the proposed abortion ban on a 74-3 vote. The bill now moves to the Alabama Senate.
Supporters of the proposed abortion ban acknowledge it would be struck down by the lower courts, but said their aim is to ignite a legal challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationally.