By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday at noon the Chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party Mark Kennedy addressed a pro-choice rally with Planned Parenthood and their allies in front of the Alabama Capital demanding that the Alabama Senate vote no on the Women’s Health and Safety Act, House Bill 57.
Chairman Kennedy said, “I was a judge for 22 years. Every woman in Alabama has a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.” Chairman Kennedy said that if the super majority cared about children and education they would not be destroying Alabama’s public schools. Kennedy said “We need to have a political solution. We need to demand equal pay for equal work.” Kennedy said that we need to let you (women) make the decision on whether or not to terminate a pregnancy.
Chairman Kennedy addressing an estimated 75 pro-choice protestors said that 51% of the citizens of Alabama are female. 56% of the registered voters in Alabama are female. Kennedy said, “You find your voice. You find your walking shoes. Peggy Kennedy and I will be marching with you. Hang tough. I am going to hang tough with you and together we are going to take our state back.”
The group chanted “Not the Church, not the state, women will decide our fate.”
An estimated 15 counter protesters were also present and at points the two overwhelmingly female groups appeared to be on the verge of potential physical confrontation. Some counter protestors held up signs saying, “I regret my abortion.”
Planned Parenthood Policy Director Nikema Williams said women are the majority of voices in Alabama. “We are the majority. The Legislators need to listen to us and vote no.” Williams said that HB 57 would close legitimate services like Planned Parenthood.” “The top priority of the legislature should be on jobs and economic opportunity not closing reproductive centers.”
The CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast Staci Fox said, “We have been providing quality healthcare treatment for 60 years. CEO Fox said that Planned Parenthood provides HIV testing, STD testing, and birth control in addition to abortion services. More than a million women will find it hard to get reproductive services without Planned Parenthood and the other abortion providers. Fox said that if HB 57 passes unintended pregnancies would go up. “Women should make own decisions about when and if to start a family.”
Milly Kennamer Breeden said, “I am a Christian and a Pro-Choice Republican.” “I am here to say no to HB 57.” “This is about shaming women for having sex. HB 57 will not stop abortions. HB 57 will stop safe abortions. I am a prochoice Republican like Betty Ford. I am a prochoice Republican like Barbara Bush, I am a prochoice Republican like Laura Bush, I am like the majority of Americans. I will vote like a woman in 2014.”
Senator Linda Coleman (D) from Birmingham said, “I have a real issue with the majority of the legislature.” HB 57 is not about safety.” Coleman said that things will not change until the plumbing around the state house changes.” “This bill needs to be killed.”
Despite their efforts later on Tuesday the Alabama State Senate passed the Women’s Health and Safety Act, HB 57. The Senate strengthened the reporting requirements on abortion clinics to include revealing to clients the names of prescription drugs used during the procedures. Late that night the Alabama House easily passed the motion to concur with the Senate.
HB 57 holds Alabama abortion clinics to the same health and regulatory standards as those applied to other out-patient surgical centers in the state.
Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead has accused Judge Kennedy of being too liberal for the people of Alabama. Kennedy became Chairman in the aftermath of the Democrat’s crushing defeats in the 2010 election.
Representative Mary Sue McClurkin (R) from Indian Springs was the sponsor of the bill in the Alabama House. The Republican majority applauded Rep. McClurkin for her steadfast leadership on this legislation.
The bill now goes to the Governor.