By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, May 26, the Alabama House of Representatives passed House Bill 527 that would prevent abortion providers from operating within 2000 feet of a school. The Alabama House voted 79 to15 today to prohibit abortion clinics within 2,000 feet of K-12 schools.
Alabama Citizens for Life Board Director and former Republican State House candidate, Cheryl Ringuette Ciamarra wrote in a statement, “Alabama State Rep. Ed Henry (R) sponsor of Hb 527 today defended this legislation for over 3 hours of house floor filibuster by liberal Democrats for a final passage vote of 79 in favor and only 15 opposed. Rep. Henry explained the rationale for the bill is to prevent students who are mandated by law to attend school from having to be exposed on a daily basis to the volatile atmosphere by protestors of both sides. Rep. Laura Hall (D) offered an amendment which was added that excluded the bill from applying to “reproductive health centers who do not perform abortions.””
Director Ciamarra continued, “Alabama becomes one of the first states in the nation to prohibit the licensing of abortion providers within 2,000 feet of public schools. Rep. Ed Henry’s hometown of Huntsville Alabama has been the states center of controversy due to the performance of late term abortions there. The local abortuary moved from the downtown medical district where they had been previously located to a neighborhood community location across the street from a magnet middle/high school following passage of The Womans Health and Safety Act of fire and safety standards 2 years ago, which their old building did not meet.”
Nikema Williams, the Vice President of Public Policy for Planned Parenthood Southeast, released the following statement after HB 527 passed: “Moments ago, the Alabama House passed HB 527, The Abortion Clinic Closure Bill. Representative Ed Henry the sponsor of the bill, fielded questions for approximately 2 hours and faced vocal opposition.”
Ms. Ciamarra wrote, “Alabama becomes one of the first states in the nation to prohibit the licensing of abortion providers within 2,000 feet of public schools. Rep. Ed Henry’s hometown of Huntsville Alabama has been the states center of controversy due to the performance of late term abortions there. The local abortuary moved from the downtown medical district where they had been previously located to a neighborhood community location across the street from a magnet middle/high school following passage of The Womans Health and Safety Act of fire and safety standards 2 years ago, which their old building did not meet.”
Planned Parenthood Vice President Williams said, “Yet again, politicians in Montgomery are playing politics with women’s lives. Since it would be unconstitutional to ban abortion out right, politicians try sneaky maneuvers like this to take away a woman’s right to make personal, private medical decisions.”
Ciamarra wrote that, “Rev. James Henderson had been trying to gain a local community ordinance to provide the school children protection and discovered the Huntsville City Council had actually allowed a zoning variance for this building to be used as a medical clinic to a previous owner of the building. If local authorities will not protect the children then he has taken his case to the State to enforce community standards, likening an abortion clinic to other adult activities such as bars and strip clubs. Sen. Paul Sanford the Senate sponsor of the bill does not think passage will close the Huntsville clinic but does support protecting children from this adult issue. 2,000 feet was chosen as it is over a city block and will allow vehicles traveling to and from the school to use alternative routes to avoid the daily exposure to demonstrations which occur regularly in Alabama at most abortion killing centers. Alabama currently has only 6 licensed free standing abortuaries and one identified unlicensed clinic in Selma.” “Many thanks to Rep. Ed Henry and Speaker Mike Hubbard for working tirelessly to defend HB527.”
Planned Parenthood wrote, “Representative Patricia Todd pointedly told Representative Henry, “You’re not solving the problem.” She discussed the need for not only keeping these reproductive health facilities open but also improving the adoption process in Alabama. Representative Napoleon Bracey, Laura Hall, Phil Williams, John Rogers, Mary Moore, Merika Coleman-Evans, and Thomas Jackson also expressed their concerns about the bill. Several speakers found this bill unnecessary and were not convinced of Representative Henry’s intentions being zoning related.”
Alabama Citizens for Life wrote, “We cannot rest if this is going to become a reality in Alabama you must let YOUR State Senator and the Alabama Senate leadership know you want them to quickly take up this measure before a committee in time for a Full Senate Floor vote.”
Planned Parenthood said, “This bill makes zero sense and is simply a thinly veiled attempt to dismantle Roe V. Wade in Alabama. We say this again and again but it’s never appropriate for elected officials to play politics with women’s lives, which is exactly what happened here today.”
Alabama Citizens for Life wrote: “School children are mandated by law to attend school daily. But should not have to pass killing centers daily. Don’t allow abortion providers to continue to kill innocent children in the womb within 2,000 feet of public schools.”
HB527 next appears before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.