Before the week is out, another Alabama clinic will shut its doors thanks to the state’s TRAP bill, set to take effect July 1.
Last April, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed the Women’s Health and Safety Act. The TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) law requires reproductive health clinics to create wider hallways to accommodate gurneys, and state-of-the-art fire suppression systems. Clinics have to begin making changes within 180 days of the law’s effective date. The new zoning regulations are the same for ambulatory surgical centers, but the cost of such renovations leaves smaller reproductive health clinics crunched for time and money.
“It will be a sad day for us to close our doors, because it means women of North Alabama will no longer have access to the multiple health care services we provide, not just abortions,” Dalton Johnson told WAFF-TV. Johnson is the clinic administrator for the Alabama Women’s Center in Huntsville, Ala. The clinic is the first in the state to choose to surrender its license, according to The Huntsville Times. The decision came after state inspectors declared the clinic would need “moderate to significant alterations” to stay in compliance with the new law. Once the Alabama Women’s Center shuts its doors, the closest clinic in Alabama for women in Huntsville is a Planned Parenthood nearly two hours south in Birmingham, with only a handful of clinics remaining statewide.
According to The Huntsville Times, Johnson told the state health department the clinic wanted to relocate to a medical office building in downtown Huntsville. State health officials said those blueprints are still under review. If the new site is approved, however, the clinic would need to reapply for a provider license.
Think Progress, 6/25/14; Feminist Newswire, 4/10/13; The Huntsville Times (AL.com), 6/24/14