Governor Bentley on Tuesday signed the Women’s Health and Safety Act, a measure that will improve and strengthen the standards of care at women’s clinics in Alabama. Some pro-life advocates say the bill will effectively shut down abortion clinics in Alabama as few, if any, clinics meet the health and safety standards the new law puts in place.
According to the Alabama Policy Institute (see graphic below), over a half million children have been aborted in Alabama since 1973, and over 50 million have been aborted nationwide.
“As a physician, and as a governor, I am proud to sign this legislation,” Governor Bentley said in a statement. “This bill provides appropriate standards of care. It has been endorsed by pro-life groups across Alabama. This is a key piece of legislation in the House Republican Agenda, and I am honored to stand with legislative leaders and sign this bill.”
Governor Bentley was joined by the bill’s sponsors and legislative leadership during a signing ceremony at the State Capitol.
Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey said the increased safety standards were the ideal way for Alabama to address the issue of abortion. “We can’t ban abortion — that’s a federal issue that’s been confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court — but at the state level, we can regulate and control unsafe health practices.”
House Speaker Mike Hubbard added that “Republicans are fortifying our efforts to safeguard the health and safety of Alabama women and defend the rights of the unborn.”
The bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin, expressed dismay with the level of care women in Alabama have been receiving from abortion clinics prior to the Act’s passage. “For far too long, Alabama has had more health regulations in place to protect your cat or dog at a vet clinic than it does for a woman receiving an abortion; this law will correct that shameful disparity.”
The Women’s Health and Safety Act will require clinics that provide abortions to meet the same facility standards as ambulatory care centers. The legislation also calls for doctors who provide abortions to adhere to stronger standards, including having admitting privileges at local hospitals. The bill also includes strong enforcement procedures for doctors or clinics that fail to comply with the new health and safety standards.
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