Activists claim unlicensed abortion clinic operates in Selma, plan protest

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Activists are planning protests at what they say is an unlicensed abortion clinic in Selma despite a state investigation that failed to turn up evidence of the allegation.

Abortion opponents said Wednesday that they will hold a rally Friday and march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Saturday in a demonstration against the Central Alabama Women’s Clinic. Participants include Alveda King, a niece of the late Martin Luther King Jr.

Organizers said they have evidence that the medical office performs more than nine abortions monthly, which would require it to come under strict state regulations as an abortion clinic.

Individuals working with abortion opponents repeatedly called the office without identifying themselves and scheduled appointments for abortion procedures, activists said. Audio clips of some phone calls were previously made public by abortion opponents.

But an investigation by the Alabama Department of Public Health did not determine how many abortions are performed at the office, according to documents released by the agency.

“This agency was unable to establish that the facility performed a number of abortions that would require it to be licensed as an abortion or reproductive health center,” said a March letter from a state attorney to the Life Legal Defense Foundation.

While doctor’s offices are required to report the number of abortions they perform to the state, those reports are not public.

Dr. Samuel C. Lett, who operates the clinic, did not return a phone message seeking comment.

State records list five licensed abortion clinics in Alabama. The closest to Selma is in Montgomery, about 50 miles away.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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