Alabama Legislature passes bill to close abortion clinics near schools on final day of session

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The Alabama Legislature was on a mission Wednesday, it’s last day of regular session, to tick off another to-do item the “Right for Alabama” agenda GOP leadership laid out in February.

With time ticking away, the Alabama House took up a controversial bill, HB 301 sponsored by Rep. Ed Henry, a Decatur Republican, which prohibits abortion clinics from being within 2,000 feet from any K-8 public school. The bill does this by directing the Alabama Department of Public Health not to reissue licenses for any clinic within 2,000 feet of a school.

Despite strong Democratic opposition and an attempt to filibuster, the bill overwhelmingly passed the state House in 73-18 vote.

The bill now awaits Gov. Robert Bentley‘s signature.

If signed into law, the bill would force two abortion clinics in the state to close, including one in Huntsville stationed across the street from Edward H. White Middle School, which was forced to move to its current location near a public school after the state mandated new facility requirements in 2013.

“It disturbs me that a person has tried to abide by the law, and still gets penalized,” Hunstville-Democratic Rep. Laura Hall said, according to the Associated Press. “It is unfair for an individual to meet the demands of a law that we passed and when they moved, we create another law to put them basically out of business.”

The state Senate had passed its version of the bill in March by a vote of 27-6.

“If we currently protect a physical buffer between students and liquor stores, it is common sense that we would protect them from attending school near an abortion clinic,” Sen. Paul Sanford of Huntsville said upon the Senate’s passage of the bill. “This will not mandate any abortion clinic to shut down, but I have no problem if it forces a clinic or two to move away from our kids.”

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