MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT & CNN) – Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed a billtoday that raises safety requirements for abortion clinics to operate.
The bill, titled the Women’s Health and Safety Act, requires the state’s five clinics that provide abortions to meet the same facility standards as ambulatory care centers. Doctors must also have admitting privileges at local hospitals.
“As a physician, and as a governor, I am proud to sign this legislation,” Governor Bentley said. “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.”
Both the Alabama House and Senate passed the bill by overwhelming majorities.
“Though I am completely opposed to legalized abortion, the U.S. Supreme Court unfortunately allows it to remain the law of the land,” said Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn). “But with the passage of this legislation, we are doing everything we can to ensure the procedure is performed in a safe and healthy environment.”
A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood said recently Alabama’s law, and other similar measures passed in conservative states, are the tip of the iceberg in a broader assault on a woman’s right to choose.
“This is a whole new level of attack on women’s health,” said Staci Fox, who heads the organization’s Southeast division. “This level of hostility is a wake-up call for women around the country,” Fox said.
Alabama’s five abortion clinics would have to widen the sizes of rooms and doorways, forcing them to remodel.
“It puts an undue burden on existing facilities. All of this makes it harder to access health care,” Fox said.
It also requires family planning clinics to be able to admit patients to hospitals. Fox said this is unnecessary. Abortions are one of the safest procedures for women, she said.