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Ala. legislature passes new abortion rules

April 3, 2013 at 2:04 AM
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MONTGOMERY, Ala., April 3 (UPI) -- A bill to impose stringent new conditions on abortion clinics in Alabama passed the state House of Representatives late Tuesday.

The lower house adopted the bill 68-21, approving minor changes made by the Senate, which passed it 22-10 earlier in the evening, AL.com reported. It now goes to Gov. Robert Bentley.

Backers of the bill say the regulations, which include requiring doctors at clinics to have hospital admitting privileges, are aimed at protecting women. But Nikema Williams of Planned Parenthood Southeast said the real goal is to outlaw abortion in the state and predicted a court challenge.

"This bill will cause reproductive health centers to close, reproductive health centers that women count on for a multitude of services," she said.

The sponsor urged clinics to support the bill.

"If an abortion clinic is truly dedicated to providing adequate care, ensuring dependable safeguards, and putting patients' needs before profits, it will embrace this legislation rather than oppose it. I am proud that the state of Alabama is daring to defend the right to life," Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin, a Republican, said.

The vote followed hours of acrimonious debate and demonstrations at the statehouse.

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