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HB 57 Will Come Up on House Floor on Tuesday

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday, the Alabama House of Representatives is expected to debate The Women’s Health and Safety Act, HB 57, sponsored by State Representative Mary Sue McClurkin (R) from Indian Springs.  The Women’s Health and Safety Act is part of the House Republican Caucus’s “We Dare Defend Our Rights” Agenda the Caucus announced before the 2013 Regular Session began.

State Representative Kurt Wallace (R) from Maplesville said on Facebook Monday, “I would like to ask all of you that read my posts to please keep the legislature in your prayers tomorrow. The first bill up is HB57. This bill will require Abortion Clinics to meet standards that are expected in virtually all clinics that do medical procedures in Alabama. These standards will require a doctor and nurse to be present during the procedure and they will have to be able to send the patient to a local hospital should things go wrong. This bill is designed to protect both the mother and child.”

Rep. Jim McClendon (R) from Springville told ‘The Alabama Political Reporter’ on Sunday that HB 57 gives abortion clinics the same standards as other outpatient clinics.  One of the issues that HB 57 addresses is that out of state abortion doctors often perform the procedures then leave, so there is no doctor on the premises in case of complications.  HB 57 requires them to be present to deal with complications and to have hospital admitting privileges.  McClendon said, “I think HB 57 will be contentious.”

Rep. McClurkin said in a written statement, “Abortions are, sadly, legal in this country.  Given this unfortunate truth, common sense should tell us that an abortion clinic should be held to the same high standards as any medical office that practices invasive procedures.  We must ensure that dangerous, unregulated, fly-by-night clinics will be shut down because, sadly, the state of Alabama has more health regulations in place to protect your cat or dog at a vet clinic.”

Speaker of the Alabama House Mike Hubbard (R) from Auburn said, “Rep. McClurkin has consistently been a strong advocate for children and women during her tenure in the legislature. Her tireless efforts to protect the right to life make her a perfect sponsor for this bill.”

The Alabama House Republican Caucus in a written statement that they proposed the Women’s Health and Safety Act to address long standing dangerous and unsanitary conditions in the Alabama abortion industry.  The Caucus wrote, “States may enact meaningful abortion-related reforms, and the Women’s Health and Safety Act is such a measure.  With this bill, House Republicans make clear that should a woman choose to have an abortion, it should be performed in the safest pre-and-post operative environment available.  Specifically, this legislation would require direct physician involvement and set mandatory standards for nursing care and post-operative follow-up visits at abortion clinics as well as establishing severe penalties for non-compliance.”

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Pro-abortion activists are expected to attend the session to attempt to lobby the legislature not to pass the tougher regulatory standards on Alabama abortion clinics. They argue that stricter regulation of the abortion clinics will lead to fewer abortion clinics operating in the state of Alabama.  Similarly Pro-Life groups are likely to also be in attendance supporting the legislation.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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