North Alabama’s only abortion clinic will be voluntarily closing its doors Friday, in anticipation of the state shutting them down in a week.
In accordance with Alabama’s new and, as ever, ironically named Women’s Health and Safety Act, HB 57, Alabama Women’s Clinic obtained hospital admitting privileges for its physicians and instituted a 48-hour waiting period between a mandatory ultrasound and misleading information and the procedure itself. Their final hurdle, however, would have been to update their building to meet code standards for an ambulatory surgical center, including extra-wide doorways and an overhead sprinkler system, which they wouldn’t be able to complete by the July 1 deadline.
Alabama Women’s Clinic has submitted blueprints for a new location, but they have yet to be approved by the state Department of Public Health. When the clinic surrenders its license on Monday, they will have to reapply when the new facility becomes available.
This closure leaves Alabama with only three abortion providers. Birmingham’s only abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, closed temporarily in January of this year and has yet to reopen. And Mississippi’s sole remaining abortion clinic is fighting to stay open in the face of a new law similar to the one that shut down Alabama Women’s Clinic. Facilities remain open in Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, and Mobile, but the Huntsville clinic closing means that women in north Alabama will have to travel more than 100 miles to the nearest provider in Nashville to receive abortion care. Alabama Women’s Center also provided Pap smears, pregnancy tests, birth control, STD testing, and ultrasounds, but those services will no longer be available in the interest of women’s health and safety.
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