By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY–A bill requiring state regulation of abortion clinics passed out of House Health Committee on Wednesday.
Sponsored by Representative Mary Sue McClurkin (R-Indian Springs) brought HB223 before the committee saying, “It addresses the standards of care that the Department of Public Health regulates.”
In a report prepared for the House Health Committee, A. Eric Johnston, president of the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition, summarized the bill’s provisions as foliows:
- Significantly upgrades the health and life safety standards that abortion clinics and abortion providers must meet so that they become equivalent to those required of all other licensed health care facilities in the state.
- Requires abortion clinics to meet the same life safety code and building code standards as Ambulatory Surgery facilities (clinics currently are required to meet the same building codes as a private physician office).
- Requires that a physician with admitting privileges to a local hospital must follow-up all adverse events reported by an abortion patient, just as would occur for a patient in any other type of health care facility.
- Requires abortion clinics to have crash carts and licensed professionals trained in emergency life saving techniques during procedure days, as well as at least one physician on hand during procedures who has admitting privileges at a local hospital.
- Prohibits off-label use (i.e. non-FDA approved use) of abortion inducing medications, such as RU-486, and requires that a physician must examine the patient in person before abortion inducing medications may be dispensed (this would prohibit dispensing abortion inducing medications by telephone or via the internet).
- Includes strong infection control provisions.
- Adds a requirement to inquire about situations where statutory rape may have occurred and to report possible instances of statutory rape to appropriate local authorities.
- This bill proposes to upgrade current standards, so that so long as abortion remains legal, that at least the healthcare provided to women in abortion clinics will meet the requirements imposed on other healthcare providers.
In order to have admitting privileges, doctors must have insurance and be approved by the hospital board.
“Abortion doctors are kind of a unique circuit-riding kind of people, they go from state to state. These clinics are owned by the same people and use the same doctors. It is difficult to find any self-respectable established doctor who would admit that he does abortions.”
“In order to get hospital admitting privileges you pretty much have to have a clean record. These abortion doctors have violation after violation and because of that they can’t get insurance,” said Cheryl Ciamarra, Alabama Board Director to NRLC. “This bill in the long run will raise quality of the standard of doctor who are performing abortions on women in Alabama.”
Violations of the law would be classified as Class A misdemeanors. The bill now awaits a position on the calendar by the House Rules Committee.