In Alabama, lawmakers have filed House Bill 527, which would ban abortion facilities from building within 2,000 feet of a public school or campus. If passed, the legislation could close down the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives Services (AWCRA) in Huntsville.
The bill states that the state health department “may not issue or renew a health center license to an abortion clinic or reproductive health center” within the 2,000 feet of a school. Sponsor of the legislation, Ed Henry (R-Hartselle), said, “It’s a very simple bill.” However, he acknowledged that he didn’t know it could close AWCRA.
He said, “I did not know it would impact closing (a clinic). (This bill had) been asked for by several of the pro-life groups around the state. To me, the whole atmosphere around abortion clinics is very unsettling, with protesters on both sides, and to me not something we need to have the children of Alabama subjected to. We regulate how close liquor stores can be to schools and churches.”
He added that he’s aware that the legislation could lead to lawsuits but doesn’t believe that should keep them from doing what is right.
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Currently, the Huntsville abortion facility is located across the street from Edward H. White Middle School. According to the Times Daily, the facility administrator, Dalton Johnson, said they moved to that location after being forced out of a building in downtown Huntsville due to the 2013 Women’s Health and Safety Act. The legislation was initiated after there were multiple botched abortions in Alabama.
Johnson said, “Right now we are the only clinic in the whole state with a physician on staff that actually does the procedures and has admitting privileges at a hospital. If the ruling regarding physicians’ admitting privileges at clinics gets overturned, we would be the only one left in the entire state, and now they are coming at us with this legislation to try to close us down.” He also mentioned that they spent over a half a million dollars on on construction to meet the codes and requirements for licensure by the Alabama Department of Public Health.
He concluded, “We met the requirement (the Legislature) says deals with women’s safety and now they are going to try this. The sad thing about it is with the shortfall in the budget, where they are having problems keeping the state parks open, they are going to waste state resources on more lawsuits.”
As LifeNews previously reported, a survey of AWCRA was conducted on January 8-9, 2013, where inspectors found unsanitary conditions, expired drugs, and an uncalibrated ultrasound machine. AWCRA failed to clean medical equipment – including procedure tables – between patients. Additionally, one abortionist failed to provide women with an opportunity to view an ultrasound of their babies prior to an abortion, which is required by law.