MONTGOMERY — The Alabama House on Tuesday passed legislation that would stiffen 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.
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.
Speaking on the House floor during debate over 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.
“I think it will truly limit abortion in Alabama, and I’m pleased with that,” Collins said.
Rep. Ed Henry, R-Hartselle, who last year at an anti-abortion rally said that he regretted an abortion a former girlfriend had when he was younger, said he was ecstatic the bill would “bring these clinics into the 21st century.”
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, like 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.
In Mississippi, the state’s lone abortion clinic might be forced to close because of stricter rules put in place by the Legislature and endorsed by the governor.
How local House members voted on the abortion regulation bill, HB57:
Terri Collins, R-Decatur — Yes
Micky Hammon, Rdecatur — Yes
Ed Henry, R-Hartselle — Yes
Ken Johnson, Rmoulton — Yes
Mac McCutcheon, R-Capshaw — Yes
Dan Williams, Rathens — Yes
Copyright 2013 The Decatur Daily. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.
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