By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, May 6, the Alabama House of Representatives Health Committee gave a favorable report to a package of bills aimed at regulating abortions in the State of Alabama. The committee approved HB405, HB491, and HB527 in the House.
Alabama Citizens for Life Spokeswoman Cheryl Ciamarra told the Alabama Political Reporter, “Alabama citizens for life would like to see a ban on dismemberment abortions like Kansas signed into law, a limit on licensing abortion providers within 2000 feet of schools (many fear ACA will lead to Planned Parenthood eventually running clinics inside schools in Alabama) and a total ban on any type of abortions if fetal heartbeat can be detected: HB 405.”
Planned Parenthood Southeast called the Committee’s passage of what they called, “harmful bills” and “Legislature’s Attack on Women.”
The Vice President of Public Policy for Planned Parenthood Southeast, Nikema Williams released a written statement on Wednesday’s favorable reports:
“Already this session we have seen an onslaught of bills that could hinder a woman’s ability to get the care she needs, and Alabama legislators show no sign of stopping the assault now. This morning, the House Health Committee passed three medically unnecessary bills in an effort to restrict access to abortion and allow discrimination in health care.”
HB 405, The fetal heart beat bill, would outlaw abortions if the pregnancy is far enough along that a fetal heart beat can be detected.
Planned Parenthood claims that could be as early as 4 to 6 weeks, before a woman may even know she’s pregnant.
At the Federal level, Students for Life is going from college campus to college campus, urging students to sign a petition of support for banning abortion at 20 weeks on account that unborn infants can feel pain by that point in their development.
The Federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act has stalled in the Republican controlled US House of Representatives since January because of internal divisions within the GOP caucus over its language.
HB 527, sponsored by Rep. Ed Henry (R-Hartselle) would prevent abortions from being performed within a health center that lies within 2,000 feet of a public school, including colleges and universities.
HB 491, would protect health care professionals from being forced to perform procedures like abortion, sterilizations, and human cloning that violate their conscience and/or religious beliefs.
Planned Parenthood Southeast said, “Right now, Alabama legislators are actively working to overturn Roe V. Wade and every step of the way, Planned Parenthood Southeast is there to provide the voice of reason and working to stop these unconstitutional and medically unnecessary bills.” “Yet again, politicians in Montgomery are playing politics with women’s lives. Politicians should have absolutely no role in our personal medical decisions. Only a woman and her doctor can make the determination about what’s best for her. These bills are wrong for Alabama and wrong for women.”
Susan Watson, the executive director of the ACLU of Alabama said in a statement, “These bills are an affront to women and limits their access to a constitutionally protected medical procedure. Politicians need to stop meddling in medical affairs and putting a woman in harm’s way. Regardless of how we feel about abortion, we can all agree that a woman needs and deserves the highest quality medical care possible. And we can also all agree that Alabama’s pocketbook can’t afford any more unnecessary litigation.”
The bills now await action on the floor of the full Alabama House of Representatives.
Original reporting by the National Catholic Register contributed to this report.