MONTGOMERY (AP) — The Alabama House on Thursday passed legislation that would stiffen the requirements for abortion clinics in the state that opponents say would force most to close.
The House approved the bill by a 73-23 vote. It now goes to the Senate for debate.
Speaking on the House floor during debate on the bill, Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, referenced her time as a counselor at Decatur’s Save A Life Pregnancy Center. She thanked McClurkin for the bill.
“It will truly limit abortion in Alabama and I’m pleased with that,” Collins said.
But Rep. Marcel Black, D-Tuscumbia, questioned McClurkin about whether her proposed rules for abortion clinics also would apply to facilities where other out-patient procedures, such as corrective eye surgeries or orthopedic surgeries, are performed. McClurkin said it did not.
“If it is a safety issue, why wouldn’t it apply to any sort of surgical procedure?” he said.
The bill would require clinics to have wider hallways and to have a doctor available when an abortion is performed.
The sponsor, Republican Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin of Pelham, said the new rules would require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as most places that perform surgical procedures.
Rep. Juandalynn Givhan, D-Birmingham, said the restrictions are so severe that most hospitals would not be able to obey the regulations.
McClurkin disagreed, saying most hospitals are under stricter regulations.
Supporters of the legislation said the rules would ensure the safety of women who have abortions.
The bill now goes to the Senate for debate.
In Mississippi, the state’s lone abortion clinic might be forced to close because of stricter rules put in place by the Legislature and wholeheartedly endorsed by the governor.
Montgomery correspondent Mary Sell contributed to this report. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How local House members voted on the abortion regulation bill:
Lynn Greer, R, Rogersville — Yes
Greg Burdine, D, Florence — Yes
Marcel Black, D, Tuscumbia — No
Johnny Mack Morrow, D, Red Bay — Yes