Abortion Safety Bill Sparks Controversy Days Into Legislative Session

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) - Only a few days into the legislative session and House Republicans are diving head first into their "We Dare Defend Our Rights Agenda."

Wednesday, House Bill 57 was approved by the Health Committee. It is a bill that, if passed, would put in place comprehensive standards of medical care for abortion clinics.

The bill requires that all patient care be administered in accordance with state board of health and State Board of Medical Examiners Rules.

Licensed Physicians would be the only ones allowed to administer abortion inducing drugs, and all nurses will have to be supervised by a Registered Nurse. They are rules that have already been in place, but House Bill 57 stands to further penalize clinics that do not comply.

Building code regulations within the bill have outraged pro-choice activists who say it will pose millions of dollars in construction costs for clinics. If the clinics cannot make the changes, they will lose their license.

Among the building code regulations, clinics would be required to have 6-foot wide hallways and ramps leading into the building.

"Instead of outlawing abortions, they're just going to make it to the point where a clinic cannot afford to operate," said Sharon McClendon-Price, a pro-choice activist who addressed the Health Committee, Wednesday.

Representative Mary Sue McClurkin, the bill's sponsor, says that isn't part of the goal.

"It's to have a safe environment for women to have that type of surgery, to have an abortion," said McClurkin.

Pro-Choice activists plan to have a presence in Montgomery every week of the regular session.

House Bill 57 should come up for a vote on the House floor in the coming weeks.