Alabama Senate votes to prohibit abortion facilities near public schools
MONTGOMERY, Alabama, March 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A bill requiring abortion facilities to maintain a 2,000-foot distance from all public schools has passed the Alabama state Senate.
Introduced by Senator Paul Sanford, the legislation would force Alabama Women's Center for Reproductive Alternatives, which is located one-fifth of a mile from the Academy of Academics and Arts in Huntsville, to move further from the school.
Sanford compared his bill to similar legislation mandating bars be specific distances from churches and schools.
The abortion facility’s owner claims, however, that they are "a medical facility, plain and simple."
"If it was not for the protestors out in front you wouldn't even know abortions were done here," Dalton Johnson told ABC31.
The legislation passed the Senate 27-6, and now heads to the state House. The House passed a similar bill last year that sponsor Rep. Ed Henry, a Republican, told AL.com was intended to protect children from the protests that take place in front of abortion facilities.
James Henderson, the former leader of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, told AL.com that his group helped write Henry's bill to specifically shut down the Women's Center. The news agency said the abortion center is "located almost directly across from the former Ed White Middle School,” now known as the Academy of Academics and Arts.
The clinic, one of five abortion centers in Alabama, has faced controversy before. State inspectors found violations of sanitary protocols in 2013, as well as violations of informed consent laws. The clinic shut down in 2013 because it couldn't meet state care regulations, and reopened in 2014 despite what pro-life advocates say were violations of city laws.