Alabama 'Pro-Lifers' Want Abortion Clinic Closed To Protect Kids From Alabama 'Pro-Lifers'
We'll grant this much to the fetus fetishists of the "pro-life" crowd: they're endlessly imaginative in coming up with new ways to make it harder for women to get access to a legal medical procedure. Take the fine folks in the Alabama Senate -- please, take them! -- who passed a bunch of restrictions and requirements for clinics that perform abortions (mandating the same structural standards as surgical facilities and hospital-width hallways, for instance). The Alabama Women’s Wellness Center (AWWC) in Huntsville opened a new office designed to comply with the restrictions, with the added benefit of having a full parking lot so patients wouldn't have to walk past protesters offering them "counseling" by screaming "baby murderer" in their faces, from the sidewalk. But now, state senators are expected to pass a law that would prohibit abortion clinics from operating within 200 feet of a school -- and the AWWC just happens to be across and down the street from a middle school that's being refurbished and will be re-opening as a magnet school in the fall. How conVEENient!
The legislation, HB527, was custom-tailored to target the AWWC by the former head of the Alabama Christian Coalition, James Henderson, and has already passed the state House; as an added soupçon of grim irony, its House sponsor, Ed Henry, argues that the little schoolchildren need to be protected from all the terrible gory images displayed on signs carried by protestors, saying "It is a volatile atmosphere that our children shouldn't be exposed to." That would be the volatile atmosphere generated by the same protestors who drafted the bill for him. It's awfully nice of the James Henderson to be so sensitive to the effects of all the shouting and gory chopped-up-fetus signs on young folks; his group has not, incidentally, moved to bar children from participating in demonstrations where their parents have them carry such signs, because that's Free Speech.
Henderson told AL.com that he had a really good inspiration for the distance limit:
"What prompted the action is the abortion clinic in downtown Huntsville that was forced to close and then relocated across from a public school," he said.
"You have the spectacle of an abortion clinic across from a school," Henderson continued. "We were advised counsel that a good approach was to use the same standard of keeping sex offenders from public schools, which is 2,000 feet. That is what the bill is based on."
So a constitutionally legal medical procedure is pretty much the same as a sex offender. Or maybe it's all the noisy protestors? Either way, excellent analogy! The anti-abortion group had already failed to close the clinic through a lawsuit; that case was tossed because the judge ruled the Christian Coalition didn't have standing to sue since it's not affected by the clinic's location. You know, other than by the fact that they can't shove bullhorns and red-spattered posters directly into women's faces.
While the bill was still working its way through the House, anti-abortion protestors also vowed during a committee hearing that they would demonstrate at the school, which has already had to put up barriers to keep protesters from interfering with students being dropped off and picked up at the school.
And finally, just one bit of testimony from Bizarro World: When he testified in favor of the 2000-foot limit, James Henderson mentioned a news story that at least one local clinic manager has made it known that he carries a handgun for self-defense -- what with the whole thing where "pro-lifers" like to kill doctors and clinic workers for Jesus. Henderson called the man's exercise of his sacred Second Amendment right "behavior that I believe to be questionable," and fretted about "the potential of an abortion clinic administrator, armed within pistol range of kids walking to and from school. Not a good situation." Henderson also warned that the poor school kids might be exposed to "graphic pictures of unborn babies," which Henderson would be carrying. We're sort of wondering if that clinic manager should invite one of the nation's fine Open Carry groups to have a word with Mr. Henderson about why guns near schools keep everyone safer. We'd pay to watch that conversation.
As to the potential for kids being exposed to all those terrible disruptions at the clinic? The school building doesn't even have any windows on the side of the building that faces the clinic. Still, won't anyone think of the children with x-ray specs?
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.