Editor’s Note: With 32 days left until the presidential election, PolicyMic’s Audrey Farber will be posting a daily update on the state of abortion rights in the U.S., covering legislative challenges to Roe v. Wade in all 50 states. So far, we’ve gotten updates on Ohio, Florida, Georgia, D.C., South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire. Check back in every day to keep track!
The third-most conservative state in the country, Alabama is also among the ranks of those states whose abortion providers are being forced to shut their doors.
In September, several groups filed a complaintto have a Planned Parenthood location — the last clinic providing abortions in metropolitan Birmingham — shut down. The only other remaining provider in Birmingham, New Woman All Woman, was shut down in May, just a few months after the clinic owner was assaulted on clinic property. The clinic was denied a license to reopen under new management in mid-September. This same clinic was bombed by a protester in 1998.
Also this year in anti-abortion Alabama:
The Alabama state legislature debated an ultrasound bill in February which would require women to view the image and mandate the use of probes, a bill whose sponsor stated he hoped would show women that the fetus “is not just a clump of cells.” The bill’s sole opponent in the State Senate committee vote called it a “state-sanctioned rape bill.” It was rewritten to allow women to choose the ultrasound method used. How kind.
In June, Governor Robert Bentley signed a post-twenty week fetal pain bill with no exceptions for rape or incest, saying “I believe that life begins at conception and I signed this bill to further commit my promise to protect the life of an unborn child.” The bill makes it a felony to perform such a procedure.
In addition to these and state-mandated 24-hour waiting periods, counseling before abortions, insurance prohibitions, parental consent, and excessive regulations on providers, Alabama has a gag rule to prevent advocating for abortions, especially egregious because it affects the Alabama Office of Women’s Health.
The only thing missing here is current Personhood legislation (considered in previous legislative sessions and, separately, failed to make it on 2012 ballot). But wait — Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker has stated that he believes “Roe…does not have any effect on laws governing the rights of the unborn apart from the abortion question,” referring to the part of the SCOTUS ruling that does not seek to determine viability of fetuses, rightfully assessing that this is a determination better left to the doctors involved. Parker also wrote that “Roe’s statement that unborn children are not ‘persons’ within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment is irrelevant to the question whether unborn children are ‘persons’ under state law,” seemingly laying the groundwork for future Personhood legislation in the state.