Alabama About to Put Its Abortion Clinics in Jeopardy
New restrictions go to governor today
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Apr 4, 2013 2:53 AM CDT
Updated Apr 4, 2013 5:03 AM CDT
In this Tuesday, March 19, 2013 file photo, members of the House debate at the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Ala.   (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

(Newser) – Alabama's state legislature has passed a bill placing tough new restrictions on abortion providers, and critics say it's intended to shut down the five clinics in the state, the New York Times reports. The bill is headed for Gov. Robert Bentley's desk today, and he's said he'll sign it. Its measures include a rule that doctors who provide abortions must have local hospital admitting privileges. Multiple clinics in the state use doctors based outside Alabama, and state politics would make it tough for them to get admitting privileges, says a Planned Parenthood rep, who tells the AP that only one clinic in the state employs a doctor who has these privileges.

The bill also sets building standards for clinics that, for some, could require millions of dollars in improvements—improvements the clinics call unnecessary, the Times notes. While new laws in states like Arkansas banning early abortions "may sound more drastic," says an expert who supports abortion rights, they probably won't be upheld in court. But "more reasonable-sounding things like hallway width, or requiring a doctor to have local admitting privileges," could get court approval and ultimately "be much more devastating" to abortion access. Supporters of the tougher rules, however, say they aim "to ensure that if clinics are going to operate, they operate to high standards that protect women’s health and safety." Washington state, meanwhile, is looking to mandate insurance coverage for abortion.

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Apr 4, 2013 10:58 PM CDT
Republicans just do not care about the born who do not contribute to the elections.
Apr 4, 2013 10:40 PM CDT
I foresee a new horror film. Pregnant in Alabama.
Apr 4, 2013 4:13 PM CDT
The threat here is appeal from the state. These laws are passed with full knowledge of their unconstitutionality but will successfully bait the ACLU into suing just so the state can appeal it up. The hope is that it reaches the Supreme Court--and requiring only a 5-4 vote to hear, the current panel of justices may be able to hear an abortion-rights case (like one flowing out of state laws like these) in order to overturn Roe or Casey. The conservative bloc has been vocal about their individual reasons to overturn Roe, given the chance. It's a tricky topic and it's not going to cool off, so we really need public opinion to build an informed basis for arguments in coming years. The need for a national dialogue is so important here before the Supreme Court might get to hear one of these cases. They will not ignore an accelerating public sentiment one way or the other.