Controversy Surrounds Abortion Bill that Hits the House Floor Tues.


By Jessica Gertler

From Montgomery -- Tomorrow the Alabama House will discuss a bill to require stricter standards for abortion clinics. Those opposing it say it will only leave two clinics in the state.

Those supporting the Women's Health and Safety Act say it will place more restrictions on abortion clinics, which they say it will make it a safer environment for those women who choose to have the procedure.

"It's totally going to help the mothers," says Susan Bunce.

Bunce is with First Choice Women's Medical Center in Montgomery, which offers post-abortion counseling.  She says a majority of the abortion clinics in the state do not have high health standards, and it has her staff picking up the pieces.

"A girl was in here from Montgomery, and she had said she was taken into the emergency room at Jackson Hospital with severe bleeding happening there, because the procedure went wrong," says Bunce.

Bunce says she's backing the Women's Health and Safety Act. It's a bill, created by House Republicans that they say sets higher fire safety codes for abortion clinics, requires follow-up visits after the operation, and makes it a felony for anyone other than a physician to perform an abortion.

"A lot of times, just being human, we've taken the medicine, and we think we're well, we don't bother to follow up," says Elizabeth Verble, a nurse at First Choice Women's Medical Center.

Also under the bill, abortion clinics are required to ask every girl younger than 16 the name of her child's father. The girl does not have to answer, but if the clinic finds out the father was two years older then the clinic would have to report the name of the minor and the father to the Department of Human Resources.

Earlier this month, a House committee passed the act, but many in the audience were against that decision saying the bill will shut down three of the five abortion clinics in the state.

Among those opposing the bill is Representative Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery. He was out of town Monday, but did give us this statement: "The U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion, and for the Alabama legislature to undermine that is completely asinine."

Lawmakers will discuss the legislation Tuesday afternoon. Bunce is keeping her fingers crossed.

"It's really going to save a lot of women's lives," she says.

Right now there are five abortion clinics operating in the state including one in Montgomery. Alabama News Network did reach out to the Montgomery clinic. They say their spokesperson was out Monday.

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