Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

House Bill 57 sparks debates about Alabama abortion clinics

Several Tuscaloosa advocates are making their voices heard after Governor Bentley signed House Bill 57, which increases restrictions on abortion clinics throughout the state, into law Tuesday.

Gloria Gray, director of the West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa, said this bill was a very poorly written piece of legislation, taking away a women’s constitutional right to make a choice.

“Clearly the intent is to put abortion clinics out of business,” Gray said. “Taxpayers’ money is being wasted when it should be put towards health care or feeding the elderly, and legislators are wasting it passing abortion bills that are completely unnecessary.”

Gray said some of the clinics could meet portions of the new bill, but not one of the five clinics throughout the state could meet all of the new requirements outlined in the bill.

“Each clinic will of course try and comply with the law, and if we cannot, we will take the necessary steps to protect a women’s right, including litigation if it comes to that,” she said.

The bill, formally known as the Women’s Health and Safety Act, is not doing what it claims to, Gray said.

“An abortion is the safest surgical procedure in the U.S., and the five clinics in the state of Alabama have an extremely low deficiency rate compared to other clinics,” she said.

In regards to future action, Gray said the West Alabama Women’s Center would not back down.

“We’re planning on doing whatever is necessary to continue to offer this service to women,” she said. “We will not go down without a fight.”

Samaria Johnson, the incoming president of Alabama Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Justice, said her group lobbied in Montgomery against this bill’s passing, and they will continue in their efforts despite it being signed into law.

“It’s simply another way to undermine a woman’s choice,” Johnson said. “Keep in mind that in a number of states, including Alabama, that choice is already limited by legal factors such as waiting periods, parental consent as well as socioeconomic ones like transportation costs.”

The anti-abortion sponsors, Johnson said, may have hid behind apparent pro-women concern, but the ultimate goal is to reduce or wholly eliminate access to abortion while sidestepping any actual legal opposition to Roe v. Wade.

“Not only will women and the families suffer that added cost of childbearing and rearing, but the state will bear the brunt of underprivileged families seeking taxpayer-funded aid,” Johnson said. “If a woman cannot afford care for herself or her child, that’s money being taken out of somebody else’s pockets.”

HB 57 will certainly not help prevent these things, Johnson said, and it also physically and financially limits the ability of abortion providers to serve their community in an efficient way.

On the other side of the coin, Courtney Pixler, president of Bama Students for Life, said this new law would hold abortion facilities to higher medical standards after the Alabama abortion industry has proven itself to be dangerous and unsafe for women.

“A 2013 deficiency report from the Alabama Department of Public Health showed that the West Alabama Women’s Center failed to meet its own standards for hand washing, glove usage, cleaning of supplies and safe use of sharp containers,” Pixler said.

Even though babies will continue to be aborted, she said, women will receive higher standard of care now from facilities like the West Alabama Women’s Center, which makes profits from abortions, their only priority.

“If abortion facilities like the West Alabama Women’s Center are unable to meet proper medical standards, then they shouldn’t be open and putting women and their unborn children at risk,” Pixler said. “This law will hold abortion centers to proper medical standards, which will protect women from Alabama’s lucrative abortion industry.”

More to Discover