Ala. House Passes Stricter Abortion Clinic Regulations

February 21, 2013 — The Alabama House on Tuesday voted 73-23 to approve a measure (HB 57) that would increase regulations on abortion clinics, the Montgomery Advertiser reports.

The bill would require that abortion providers obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals and that abortion clinics meet the same building standards as ambulatory clinics.

The measure also would prohibit anyone other than a physician from dispensing medication abortion drugs, with penalties of up to 10 years in prison and a $15,000 fine for providers violating the requirement (Lyman, Montgomery Advertiser, 2/20).

An amendment that would have barred hospitals from denying admitting privileges to abortion providers failed (Wilkinson, Reuters, 2/19).

State Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin (R) -- the bill's sponsor -- said the measure "protects the right of women having an abortion to have it in a healthy, safe environment."

Opponents of the bill said it is medically unnecessary and aimed at closing the state's five abortion clinics. A similar measure in Mississippi is threatening to close the state's last abortion provider.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration (Montgomery Advertiser, 2/20).