In Alabama, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Alabama are filing a federal lawsuit over HB 57, which requires abortionists to obtain hospital admitting privileges at a local hospital. The pro-life bill passed in 2013 but the ACLU is upset because it could close down the last remaining abortion facility in Tuscaloosa, West Alabama’s Women’s Center (WAWC).
The Executive Director for the ACLU of Alabama, Susan Watson, told RH Reality Check: “When a woman has decided to have an abortion, the state shouldn’t stand in her way of getting safe, high quality care. But by shutting down the Tuscaloosa clinic, that is exactly what this regulation does.”
A staff attorney from the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project added, “We all want women to be safe, but that isn’t what this regulation does. In fact, it puts women at risk by shutting down one of the last remaining abortion clinics in Alabama.”
Of course, it is not surprising that the ACLU is arguing that HB 57 is targeted to close abortion facilities rather than protect women but the truth is Alabama abortionists have been running shoddy facilities for years. For example, in 2013 an inspection by the Alabama Department of Health found that the WAWC did not follow even simple safety protocols such as hand washing.
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Then a survey of one of Alabama’s other abortion clinics found unsanitary conditions, expired drugs, and an uncalibrated ultrasound machine, according to Operation Rescue. However, abortion proponents still argue that there isn’t a difference between abortion facilities and other medical facilities in the area, such as chiropractors and dentists’ offices.
In May, LifeNews reported on a clinic worker who said abortion is as safe as having wisdom teeth extracted. They forget that there is one major difference between abortion facilities and dentist offices: When a woman goes to get her teeth worked on, a baby doesn’t die and women usually don’t leave maimed.
Currently, the Tuscaloosa facility performs approximately 40% of the abortions in Alabama and is one of only two facilities in the state that can provide second-trimester abortions. As LifeNews previously reported, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld a similar Texas law earlier this year. The admitting privileges portion of the Texas law was the portion responsible for closing abortion clinics because so many shut down or stopped doing abortions.