May 2, 2012 — Abortion-rights opponents in Alabama are concerned that the state Legislature will reject most of their proposals for the second consecutive year, even though their Republican allies have an overwhelming majority, the AP/Alabama Live reports.
Alabama Pro-Life Coalition President Eric Johnston said the main problem is that the House Health Committee, which typically handles abortion-related legislation, will not hold any more meetings this session because its chair has scheduling conflicts.
House Health Committee Chair Rep. Jim McClendon (R) said the committee already approved two abortion-related bills, which would need to be passed by the House before going to the Senate.
One bill, by Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin (R), would allow health care providers to refuse to provide services that violate their consciences. The other bill, by Rep. Ed Henry (R), would prevent health plans purchased through the state health insurance exchange from covering abortion procedures and require that private insurance companies only offer abortion coverage at an extra cost.
Leola Reis, vice president of Planned Parenthood Southeast, said the Alabama Legislature focuses intensely on bills that restrict abortion rights, rather than supporting strategies to reduce the need for abortion, such as contraception and education programs (AP/Alabama Live, 4/30).