The bill was drafted by James Henderson, the former head of The Christian Coalition of Alabama and, according to gleeful supporters, was specially designed to shut down the only functioning abortion clinic in Huntsville, which happens to be across the street from a former middle school.
”We were advised by counsel that a good approach was to use the same standard of keeping sex offenders from public schools, which is 2,000 feet,” Henderson said. ”That is what the bill is based on.”
Despite working on the bill with the group, Representative Henry has yet to mention the Christian Coalition’s involvement with the bill and claims he had no idea it would force the Huntsville clinic to shut down.
”I did not know it would impact closing [the clinic],” Henry said, adding that the bill was requested by ”several of the pro-life groups around the state.”
”To me, the whole atmosphere around abortion clinics is very unsettling, with protesters on both sides, and to me not something we need to have the children of Alabama subjected to,” he said. ”We regulate how close liquor stores can be to schools and churches.”
The bill is pretty disgusting overall, but it’s a particularly harsh blow for Dalton Johnson, the Huntsville clinic administrator, who told Raw Story the facility just spent $550,000 relocating and remodeling in order to comply with 2013 legislation that tried to shut them down. The American Civil Liberties Union is also speaking out against the bill, pointing out all the taxpayer money that will be wasted on lawsuits if the legislation is passed.
Of course, none of that matters to people hellbent on legislating women’s bodies at any cost. According to the Birmingham Business Journal, Alabama’s economy is ranked 46th in the nation and a 2014 survey put the state in second place for worst overall quality of life. They have the fifth lowest employment rate in the country, the eight highest homicide rate, the tenth lowest household disposable income rate, low life expectancy, and soaring rates of poverty.
It’s a shitty group of leaders who look at those numbers and think the most pressing issue is finding a way to treat abortion clinics like unregulated sex offender dens. Bills like this are little but an offensive attack on women’s rights and a waste of resources. If they’re so worried about the atmosphere around clinics, maybe they could do something about the gross harassment and danger women face while trying to access their services.