Alabama Abortions Drop 27 Percent Thanks to Pro-Life Law Closing One Clinic for 8 Months

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Nov 4, 2016   |   10:09AM   |   Montgomery, Alabama

Abortions dropped a full 27 percent in 2015 in Alabama as the state passed new laws to protect unborn babies and their moms from abortion.

The Anniston Star reports the state Department of Public Health released its abortion report this month indicating 5,899 abortions were performed in 2015. The number is a sharp drop from the 8,080 unborn babies who were aborted in Alabama in 2014.

Here’s more from the report:

The decline appears to be due almost entirely to the temporary closure of West Alabama Women’s Center, which closed from January to August of last year. When a longtime doctor at the clinic retired, the clinic could no longer comply with a state regulation that requires clinics to have a physician on hand with admitting privileges at a local hospital. The clinic sued and got the regulation overturned.

The clinic performed 4,755 abortions in 2014 and 1,221 in 2015. It’s about an hour’s drive from Mississippi, which has only one operating abortion clinic.

“We don’t know what happened to the women who couldn’t use the clinic,” said Randall Marshall, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who represented the West Alabama Women’s Center in the case. “Some of them may have gone to other clinics, some of them probably were not able to terminate their pregnancies.”

The Tuscaloosa facility performed approximately 40 percent of the abortions in Alabama in 2014. It is one of only two facilities in the state that does second-trimester abortions.

The state had a good reason for regulating the abortion facilities. In 2013, an inspection by the Alabama Department of Public Health found that the Tuscaloosa abortion facility did not follow simple safety protocols such as hand washing. Botched abortions that sent women to the hospital also were discovered at Alabama abortion facilities, prompting lawmakers to pass abortion facility regulations in 2013.

Former state lawmaker Mary Sue McClurkin, R-Indian Springs, who introduced the admitting privileges bill, told the Star she was happy to hear about the drop in abortions.

“I’m glad that all those children were not killed before they had a chance to be born,” McClurkin said.

However, a Planned Parenthood spokesman found the statistics concerning. He said women may be turning to non-clinical abortion methods because their access to clinic abortions is being restricted.

The decline in Alabama reflects a larger trend across the U.S. In November 2015, the Centers for Disease Control reported abortions had reached a historic low in 2012.

Although approximately 699,000 babies lost their lives in abortions in 2012, the number represents a decline of about half since the highs of more than 1.5 million in the late 1980s. It also is a decline from the 730,322 babies who died from abortions in 2011, according to the CDC.