Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R).
(CNSNews.com) – The Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that would ban abortion clinics from operating “within 2,000 feet of the property or campus of a public school.” The bill is now on Republican Governor Robert Bentley’s desk and if he signs it, the law will be challenged by the ACLU and a Huntsville abortion clinic.
The bill, which passed 73-18, says that “the Alabama Department of Public Health may not issue or renew a health center license to an abortion clinic or reproductive health center that is located within 2,000 feet of the property or campus of a public school.”
The bill’s sponsor, Alabama State Senator Paul Sanford (R), said in March that his hope with the legislation is that no more abortion clinics in the state “would ever open that close to small children."
Sanford has said his bill is not intended to close clinics, but would prevent schoolchildren from seeing the “chaos” that sometimes surrounds them, according to the Decatur Daily.
“I personally don’t feel like these type of facilities need to be anywhere near our children,” Rep. Ed Henry (R), another sponsor of the bill, said at the bill’s passage.
The Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives in Huntsville, which is located across the street from Edward H. White Middle School, would have to move if the bill becomes law.
Parents of the Alabama middle school have complained about signs from protestors at the clinic scaring their children, as well as traffic problems, according to WHNT News in Alabama.
The owner of the Huntsville abortion clinic, Dalton Johnson, said he plans to challenge the legislation, as well as another bill that also passed Wednesday banning dismemberment abortions.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also plans to sue if the legislation becomes law.
"We all agree that protecting our children is a top priority. But this law isn't about protecting Alabama's children," Susan Watson, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama said in a statement. "It's about making a sure a woman who has decided to have an abortion can't get one."
"And make no mistake about it: If the legislature passes this bill, the ACLU will challenge this law in court," Watson stated.