Alabama Anti-Choice Activists Request Even More Stringent Abortion Regulations


In a conference room at the RSA Tower in Montgomery, Alabama, Department of Public Health state officials heard testimony Thursday about new regulations passed by the state legislature that would affect reproductive health-care clinics. According to reporting by the Associated Press, anti-choice activists testified that even stricter regulations need to be implemented on clinics that provide reproductive health care.

The hearing was announced on the Department of Health’s website, but does not appear to have been announced on any of its social media accounts; it was reportedly sparsely attended by the public.

Alabama law defines an abortion clinic as one that provides at least 30 abortions during any two months in a year. Anti-choice activists want that reduced to ten abortions in any month or 100 abortions over the course of a year. Jean Paxson, an anti-choice activist who spoke at the hearing, told the AP that she wants to see the health department “reduce it to one.”

Gloria Gray, director of West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa, testified at the hearing and told RH Reality Check that one of her concerns about the regulations is the state releasing statistics that show the number of abortions performed at clinics. She says that this information has made her clinic a target for anti-choice protesters.

“These new regulations serve no purpose other than to make an individual clinic a target,” said Gray. “It has made my clinic a target. There have been posts on social media of the number of procedures that occur here, and the number of protesters has increased.” Gray said that while she and her staff have not received any direct threats, the tactics of the protests has grown more aggressive as the number of protesters has increased.

Gray also said her clinic is having to adapt to the new regulations that govern the architecture of reproductive health-care clinics. The total costs of the renovations are not yet known, but the clinic is having to spend $10,000 to add a new exit door in the back of the building. “These new regulations serve no purpose, and they’re not for safety,” said Gray. “They are clearly to shut clinics down.”

The restrictions being imposed on reproductive health-care clinics in Alabama would limit access to reproductive health care. Gray said that this is going to have a negative effect on women’s health. “It’s going to make it more difficult to obtain these services because of cost and because of 24-hour waiting requirements,” said Gray. “Lots of times a patient doesn’t have means of transportation.”

Gray added that the regulations are “not going to stop women from having abortions. You can make something illegal, but it’s not going to stop it from happening. It’s just going to make it no longer safe.”

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  • fiona64

    Well, given that probably every hospital in the country performs at least 10 abortions over a two-month period, this is pretty ridiculous.

    • Kathi J

      Hospitals don’t need to make any changes in their facilities like free-standing clinics, so the regulations don’t concern them one way or the other. It’s small clinics, private doctors offices that are affected not hospitals.

      • fiona64

        That is kind of my point … they’re being hypocritical in their focus. The only reason they’re *not* focusing on hospitals is that they know they’ll have a helluva lot more problem getting away with that kind of bullshit at a major institution than they do at a small clinic.

        • Kathi J

          With all due respect, you still aren’t getting it. Hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers already adhere to the regulations they are now requiring for abortion clinics/doctors offices performing abortions. It is (unnecessary) hospital-style standards they are requiring of the clinics. And I doubt seriously if every hospital in the country performs 10 abortions per month, no Catholic hospital does them, only emergency abortions are performed in hospitals anymore.

          • fiona64

            And with all due respect, I used to work in hospitals and am still in the health care field. I concur that the hospital-style standards are unnecessary for these stand-alone clinics. My point is, and remains, that abortions are regularly performed in hospitals (many have ambulatory surgery facilities). My source is *primary.*

            The anti-choicers are not protesting *hospitals* — because it’s not about abortion, or patient safety, or any of the other *crap* they try to pretend it’s about. It’s about controlling women … and it’s a helluva lot harder to harass women going into hospitals because there are more *witnesses.*

            Don’t presume to tell me what I do and do not “get.” I get that all of this is unnecessary bullshit … and that the anti-choice are a bunch of whiny hypocrites.

          • Ella Warnock

            And those witnesses are far less likely to be bullied or cowed into shutting up. All it takes is a couple of patients or employees complaining to hospital legal and PTB, and the “protesting” would be over.

          • HeilMary1

            Where’s your selective outrage over abortion-causing urologists who dispense heart attack-inducing Viagra to pedophile priests and playboy adulterers in the GOP?? Their offices aren’t forced to meet hospital standards!

          • fiona64

            PS — It was 10 abortions over a two-month period and, given maternal mortality rates in the US, I would not be at all surprised to learn that Catholic hospitals perform them at that rate: the church still allows for it to save a woman’s life, Ireland notwithstanding.

          • Kathi J

            Guttmacher says hospitals perform about 4% of all abortions annually with many of those facilities limiting those to procedures to health/life/fetal anomalies. Estimated 30 abortions annually per hospital. Recently one of the largest hospitals partnered with the Catholic Church (becoming more common) and announced they will only do abortions if a woman’s life is endangered.