June 26, 2014 — The only abortion clinic in northern Alabama plans to voluntarily surrender its license and close by June 30 because it does not comply with building standards required under a new law (HB 57), Alabama Media Group reports.
The administrator of Alabama Women's Center for Reproductive Alternatives has already notified the state of plans to relocate to another building in the area.
HB 57, which was signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley (R) in 2013 and takes effect July 1, requires abortion clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers, with doors and hallways wide enough for gurneys, among other requirements (Doyle, Alabama Media Group, 6/25). The clinic's current building, which it has used since 2001, does not meet the standards.
Dalton Johnson, the clinic's administrator, said closing "will be a sad day ... because it means women of North Alabama will no longer have access to the multiple health care services we provide, not just abortions."
Clinic officials have already provided the health department with blueprints for a new location. The department has not approved them yet because it is waiting for some small changes from the architect, a department spokesperson said (Gray, WTVM, 6/24). If approved, the clinic will have to apply for new licensing.
There are three other clinics that offer abortion services in Alabama: Planned Parenthood - Mobile Center, West Alabama Women's Center and Reproductive Health Services (Alabama Media Group, 6/25).