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Alabama Women’s Center to surrender license, close downtown facility

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Alabama Women's Center clinic administrator Dalton Johnson confirms north Alabama's only clinic that performs abortions will soon voluntarily surrender its license to operate, due to new safety requirements recently signed into law.

Johnson told WHNT News 19 the new requirements make the current facility, located on Madison Street in downtown Huntsville, unsuitable for use.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed a bill in April that raised 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.

Johnson said Friday will be the last procedure day at the clinic. The license will be voluntarily  surrendered on Monday.

"Once this clinic closes there will be no place between Tuscaloosa and Nashville to come for a procedure," said Kathy Zentner with Alabama Reproductive Rights Advocates.  "We see patients here from Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and there are no options now."

The clinic proposed a new location for the facility at 4831 Sparkman Drive in May.

"We're very confident that we're going to find another location to open that will be compliant with the laws in Alabama," said Jayme Calhoun, also with ARRA.

Brian Hale with the Alabama Department of Public Health said blueprints have been submitted for a possible relocated facility at that location. Hale said at last report, the plan had only been through an initial review and suggestions had been made to an architect, but they are still waiting for a response.

Hale added if the clinic does voluntarily surrender their license, they will have to reapply to open a new facility.

The proposed location for the new facility would be right across from Ed White Middle School, which closes its doors in August. The school building will then undergo a renovation and the Academy for Academics and Arts will move into the space for the 2015-16 school year.

The clinic currently offers multiple health services for women.  "Women are losing their primary healthcare for OB/GYN care in this whole process just because we offer abortion services," said Calhoun.  "That's just one of the many things that we do at that clinic and it's unfair to the women that are actually patients there regularly."


    • Grace

      Are you prepared to help pay for all the children that will be born in the meantime? You can’t complain about families on welfare now.

      • Say What

        Grace, of course they will not! That group is not pro-life. They are anti-abortion. They will turn their backs on those children as soon as they are born!

  • nuclear mike

    And when more women begin to die again at the hands of the non-professional backroom “they” will say it is “…due to new safety requirements recently signed into law.” .

    • Women deserve better

      They are dying now because of these places. That is why the one in Birmingham closed. It was a cest pool. Untrained staff, dirty equipment, using expired medicines, inadequate surveillance of patients after the surgical procedure. Let’s be clear, abortion is an invasive medical procedure and as such abortion clinics should meet the same standards of care as required by any facility performing surgical procedures. Anything short of that is a travesty and negligent.

  • WhatIsWrongWithYouPeople

    You know what people , when was it ok to kill anything, Human wise.. And you things that call each other a woman that think its ok to kill or sorry you like to say abort a child, WTFITS. Perhaps you woman that give it away so easy should get it taken away from you..

  • WhatIsWrongWithYouPeople

    Or better yet for every woman that has a abortion should get there hotbox plastic surgery done and close it up to avoid your mistakes next time with out excuse…

    • Dale

      So you are all for forcing mutilation on a person to fit your beliefs? But you won’t let someone choose what is right for themselves under their own beliefs and their own health and body?

  • Lazybones

    Why is it ok for women and young girls to be raped and have no place to turn to for help? Why should women or girls be sodomizec and have to go through an unwanted pregnancy because you say it is a baby from conception. Can it live and breath outside of the womb? No, should these people be subjected to facing backwoods abortions and turn back the hands of time 30+ years to unsterile conditions and people that carved them up like a turkey. In essence that is what every woman and man is saying that wants these clinics closed. You are close minded and are still living in the dark ages. The problem is what will happen if it’s your child that comes to you and there is no where to take her but 500 miles away. Will you drive her there? Or will you force her to have a child she doesn’t want? Then give it away only to wonder 30 yrs later what could have been is it alive or dead. There are so many questions that people don’t think of when calling women/ children murders for having an abortion but when a girl of 13 or 14 has unprotected sex or even younger she really has no idea what she is doing. She is but a child herself. Many times being taken advantage of or getting caught up in a moment. But it only takes once. Why should she pay for that the rest of her life for that one time mistake. Think long and hard about it. God forgives all things. People I’m sorry to say are NOT as forgiving and even in their old age still throw stones. What a shame that so many claim to be Christ like but are the first ones to cast those stones and call names. I believe the passage is pray for your neighbor and judge not lest ye shall be judged.

  • Grace

    This is ridiculous and won’t stop abortions, only safe abortions. Hopefully it won’t be long before the new facility can open and women can get the proper care they deserve, keep abortions safe, legal, and RARE.

    • Women deserve better

      How is it safe to perform a surgical procedure with untrained staff, expired medicines, dirty equipment? Let’s be clear abortions are invasive surgical procedures. As such facilities performing them should be the same minimum standards as a facility performing other surgical procedures. It should trouble you that basically this facility just admitted that they “DON’T” meet the minimum standards and that is why they are closing.

      • JoAnn C (@jasmine1972)

        Actually, if I remember correctly, the “dirty equipment” violations relate to not wiping down the bottom portion of the exam table (that was unused), and possibly not cleaning the BP cuff between uses (have you ever seen that occur at a doctor’s office?).
        These facilities are inspected YEARLY by APHD because of public (anti-abortion) pressure to get that reqmt. passed. YET – in EACH of these inspections, these deficiencies are MINOR. The corrective action is basically for management to correct the deficiencies, review correct procedures and remind staff about the rules. IN NO CASE, have any of the EXISTING clinics in Alabama been SHUT DOWN because the APHD was SO CONCERNED about any TERRIBLE inspection report.
        You can review the reports HERE:

        The ONLY reason that this clinic is closing is because of an UNNECESSARY RULE that was included in HB57 in 2013. It required PHYSICAL CHANGES to the current facility that were impossible to comply with because there was no way to resize doors and hallways in the small office to meet the code. Instead, the doctor is moving to a new location that can accommodate these rules.

        LET ME EXPLAIN the rule – which has NOTHING to do with the medical safety of the patient. It is a FIRE CODE requirement. Essentially, most clinics were established in small, doctor office settings, like you would have at your normal doctor. But HB57 changed the rules so that clinics would have to meet the FIRE CODE requirements of BIG OUTPATIENT facilities – like where you get your colonoscopy (Ambulatory Surgical Centers). The Fire Code requires six-foot wide corridors and 4-ft wide doors, so that, in case of a FIRE, you could evacuate four heavily sedated people ON GURNEYS at one time. Clinics don’t even USE/HAVE gurneys, because patients get light-to-moderate sedation and WALK from the procedure room. Plus, there is usually just one doctor, so you never have more than one or two patients at a time in MAXIMUM sedation. So this rule is TOTALLY overblown and unnecessary – having nothing to do with patients medical safety during procedures – but the remodeling requirements are STIFF enough that many clinics can’t afford to move or remodel – so they close.

        THIS is the ENTIRE PURPOSE of these TRAP bills in multiple states. Opponents use whatever means they can to close clinics and make it more distant, difficult and expensive for women to CHOOSE to terminate a pregnancy.

    • Women deserve better

      Those weirdos sort of speak have had to deal with the horrors of the abortion industry. Two of the women now cannot bear children because they were mutilated by these so-called “legal” facilities. The weirdos are the watchdogs that the clinics hire to threaten and harass peaceful protesters. The foul language and throwing of urine comes from these watchdogs, not those peacefully protesting.

  • Ron

    Funny how the liberal abortion folks are against capital punishment but not killing babies. Hypocrites.

    • Say What

      Funny how the “pro-life” folks that are against abortions but not killing wrongfully convicted people using the death penalty. Hypocrites.

  • Say What

    I see the usual anti-constitution people are sounding off celebrating the government intrusion into individual rights. The Supreme court ruled that the 2nd Amendment applies to individuals, therefore preserving gun rights. The same Supreme court ruled that a women has reproductive rights that are protected by the United States Constitution. It is always interesting to see “conservatives” embrace Supreme Court decisions when they like them and support the government trampling on Constitutional rights when they do not like them!

  • Alexandra

    You DO grasp that the make up of the court was vastly different in each of those cases? The court has NEVER ruled that women have (or don’t have) reproductive rights. Roe/Wade was argued and won on privacy grounds. Abortion should be between a woman and her medical provider. Pretty simple. Frankly, it SHOULD trouble everyone that these clinics were ever able to operate in the first place. The safety standards required under the new law are pretty basic and the fact that the clinic can’t meet them should scare people. It says a lot about liberals that they want these clinics open no matter how unsafe they are to those who need them.

    By the way, liberals seem to have their fair share of issues with the courts issuing rulings that they don’t like.

    • Dale

      What should scare you about the safety standards of the current facility? Do you even know what they are? Trust me, it is nothing that actually causes an issue to patients of these facilities.

    • Say What

      What are the exact numbers of women that have died (or had major complications that could not be addressed by the clinic) at abortion clinics?

      • Women deserve better

        Numerous. Especially in Birmingham. The problem is your mainstream media covers it up, as well as covering up the numerous violations and warnings both facilities have been cited for including, untrained staff performing procedures they legally can’t perform, expired medications being used on patients, dirty unsterilized equipment being used on patients. Administering too much medication to a patient resulting in overdose and requiring emergency care by another facility, perforation of the uterus requiring immediate surgical intervention by another facility, incomplete abortions causing infection. The list goes on and on and on.

    • Say What

      Alexandra, you are correct that liberals also do not agree with everything coming from the US Supreme Court, but we do not go around calling ourselves “strict” constitutionalist — conservatives do!

  • Bob

    I’m glad to see this happen. Now if the death penalty were done away with we would be moving even closer to being a civilized society.

  • Red

    Score for the Alabama Taliban. The repubs and demos are already sunni and shia in this state. Can’t wait for sharia law.

  • Believe

    For all of you that stand tall on Gods words… Remember this, he gave us free will. What gives you the right to take it away.

  • TruthLivesHere

    It’s pretty simple: If you want to have sex but don’t want a baby, act responsibly and plan accordingly. If more people did that, this whole conversation would be irrelevant.

  • Pamela Willis Watters

    The new facility will be open in a few weeks. It is larger, has much more parking and an excellent surveillance system. The anti abortions zealots are aware of this. That’s why they have been protesting at Sparkman office for the past few months.
    HPD has already been supportive and wrote the antis three warning tickets for trespassing on clinic grounds. If it happens again, they will be arrested.

    • Grace

      Pamela, thank you for all you do supporting these women. I see your name come up a lot! Thank GOD for women like you:)

  • Gary Oglesbee

    This is being reported on! I just went to the V A office on Madison blvd. and was told I would not be seen there I would have to go to Guntersville. Why is this not being reported?

  • Peter

    The new office will be open in a few weeks…. this story is sort of irrevalent…. lets move on.

  • MK

    When men can start having babies, they can talk… I am personally a rape victim about 14 years ago and had an abortion. It is a woman’s right in this type of situation. I chose not to carry the child of a rapist adn to have to explain to that child how he/she came about. Now, on that note, I do belive there needs to be some kind of reprimand for women that just keep spreading their legs to every Tom, Dick and Harry out there and going to these clinics to have abortions when all they ahd to do was keep their legs shut but for a woman to get raped and not have the option to terminate the pregnancy, is just wrong.

  • Peggy Ann Bruno

    As long as this issue is controversial, there’s hope for humanity, but I’m afraid we are soon going to reach a point where no one cares anymore, and at that point humans are on their way to extinction.Does anyone care about that possibility??

  • American

    God said he “hates hands that shed innocent blood” Can an unborned child get anymore innocent ?
    The so called doctors receptionist , employees will all have to stand before God one day and that’s a fact like it or not !!

  • Lee

    Its amazing how may wicked people support abortion as though it is a woman’s right. You have rights!!!!!! The right to keep sex within marriage, the right to not have sex, the right to actually have children!!!!! YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO TAKE AN INNOCENT LIFE. When does the un-born child have rights? When do you murder supporters consider it a life? iTS IRONIC YOU WANT RIGHTS MAYBE SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE ABORTED YOU THEN WHAT RIGHTS WOULD YOU HAVE. There is a lake of fire waiting for many of you.

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