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Huntsville abortion clinic may close doors

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Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013 8:10 pm | Updated: 8:02 pm, Sat Mar 9, 2013.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala (WAAYTV) -New state legislation may force some abortion clinics to close their doors because of much stricter regulations.

Dalton Johnson has been the Administrator of Alabama Women’s Center in Huntsville for more than a decade but he says these new regulations will almost certainly force him out of business along with other clinics around the state.  

“Basically it is stopping a woman’s right to choose in the state of Alabama,” said Johnson after learning that House Bill 57 had been passed in a 73-23 vote.

The bill requires a physician who has hospital admitting privileges to be present at every abortion. Currently a physician must be present but he or she is not required to have privileges at a local hospital.

“The admitting privileges is just a way to--just another hurdle. We already have OBGYNs covering the clinics 24 hours a day with a contracting agreement,” he explained.

Another new regulation calls for the clinics to have hallways that are at least 6 feet wide. At Alabama Women’s Center they don’t have that and Johnson says they would have to build an entirely new facility something that he simply cannot afford.

He says, in his opinion, hallway size has nothing to do with performing a safe procedure and feels the purpose of this legislation is to regulate clinics out of business.

The opinions in Huntsville are varied. Jim Pearson supports new legislation regulating abortions.

“I would like for them to reverse the Roe vs. Wade decision,” he said. “You lose a life when you have abortion and it’s just not good.”

Whereas Alexis brown thinks circumstances should be considered before passing judgment.

“I think it’s her choice whether or not she wants to abort the baby and I don’t think that any law or any person should put their opinions on that person without seeing their circumstances.”

There are also clinics in Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, and Birmingham.

 “People with means will be able to travel to those areas to get an abortion but women with low income and less means--abortion will not be available to them,” said Johnson.

But some of those clinics may be closing their doors as well.

“You’re going to go back to the 60’s and the 50’s when people get desperate and you’re going to see a whole lot more women showing up over there at Huntsville Hospital.”

The bill still must be passed by the senate and signed into law by Governor Bentley.

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