New Rules Would Shut Down Clinics and Ban Proven Medical Procedure

May 5, 2016

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — In the final hours of the legislative session, the Alabama legislature passed two bills designed to prevent a woman who has decided to get an abortion from actually obtaining one.

One of the bills, SB 205, would force abortion clinics within 2,000 feet of a K-8 public school to close. If it were to take effect, the bill would decimate abortion access in the state by shuttering two of the five clinics in Alabama which together provide well over half of the abortions in the state. The other bill, SB 363, would ban physicians from providing a safe and medically proven method of abortion.

“With precious little time remaining in the legislative session, and in the face of so many issues facing the state, Alabama’s elected officials today chose to focus on attacking women’s healthcare,” said Susan Watson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama. “We know that restrictions like these only endanger the health and safety of Alabama women.”

The ACLU has said it will challenge both restrictions in court if they are signed into law. In recent years, courts have blocked three attempts to cut off access to reproductive health care in Alabama. Last month, a federal court permanently blocked a law that similarly would have forced abortion clinics to close.

“Year after year, extreme politicians in this state have tried every tool in the shed to make it impossible for a woman who has decided to have an abortion to actually get one in Alabama,” said Andrew Beck, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “Rather than using taxpayer resources to endanger women’s health, politicians should leave these personal, private family decisions to women and doctors."

Both bills would impact two Alabama abortion providers—the sole abortion clinics in Tuscaloosa and Huntsville—severely reducing abortion access throughout the state. The two clinics targeted by these bills provide well over half of the abortions in the state.

The bills now head to Gov. Robert Bentley, who will have 10 days to sign or veto them once they reach his desk.

The new Alabama restrictions are part of a nationwide effort to shut down clinics and impose obstacles in the path of a woman who has decided to have an abortion. Since 2010, state politicians have quietly passed more than 300 restrictions on a woman’s ability to have an abortion.

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