MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) – The Alabama Senate passed a controversial bill to place new regulations on abortion clinics on Tuesday.
The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 22-10.
Supporters of the bill said the new regulations, which include the need for doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, are needed to protect women.
Opponents of the bill criticize it as a backdoor way to close Alabama’s five abortion clinics.
The House of Representatives last month approved the bill by a 73-23 vote after more than four hours of debate. The Senate passed the bill with an amendment that it must return to the House.
The Senate amendment to the bill, by Sen. Harri Anne Smith, I-Slocomb, would require abortion clinics to provide to patients at the time of discharge a list of prescription medicines they received while in the clinic.
The Alabama Legislature returns from spring break on Tuesday. Senate Rules Chairman Jabo Waggoner, R-Vestavia, said the bill is expected to be on Tuesday’s or Thursday’s debate agenda.
The Senate rejected two other amendments by Smith, who is opposed to the bill. One would have removed the provision to require clinics to use doctors who have admitting privileges at hospitals in the same cities where they perform abortions.
Smith said she believed the bill could be unconstitutional because she thought it could violate what she said was a U.S. Supreme Court ruling prohibiting states from placing an undue burden on women seeking abortions.
“If the facilities shut down, it creates an undue burden,” Smith said.