Alabama GOP's new plan to shut down abortion clinics: Treat them like sex offenders

A proposed measure targets one of the state's few abortion clinics by preventing it from operating near a school

Published April 23, 2015 2:50PM (EDT)

  (AP/Danny Johnston)
(AP/Danny Johnston)

An Alabama Republican has an inventive new plan to shut down one of the state's few remaining abortion clinics: Treat the building like a registered sex offender.

Rep. Ed Henry filed a bill on Tuesday that would allow the Alabama Department of Public Health to deny health center licenses to abortion clinics that are located within 2,000 feet of a public school, a move that specifically targets the reproductive health center in Huntsville, Ala. Representatives from the antiabortion group that crafted the legislation admit that it is based on the rules that apply to convicted sex offenders. According to, the bill was crafted in response to a lawsuit that attempted -- and failed -- to shut down the Alabama Women's Center last year.


James Henderson, the former leader of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, said his anti-abortion group drafted the legislation that Henry introduced with the purpose of shutting down the Huntsville clinic.

"What prompted the action is the abortion clinic in downtown Huntsville that was forced to close and then relocated across from a public school," he said.

"You have the spectacle of an abortion clinic across from a school," Henderson continued. "We were advised counsel that a good approach was to use the same standard of keeping sex offenders from public schools, which is 2,000 feet. That is what the bill is based on."

While Henderson believes the measure would have a better chance of standing up in court because it only affects clinics when they seek license to operate, pro-choice advocates say they would challenge the law if it passes. Susan Watson, the executive director of ACLU of Alabama, said the group plans to file suit if necessary.

"You can't pass a law taking away somebodies business just because you don't like it," Watson told "It is yet again the legislators are proposing these bills that are going to cost the state of Alabama a whole lot of money."

(h/t Raw Story)

By Jenny Kutner

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