In Birmingham, Alabama a Planned Parenthood clinic in the Southside area has opened and plans to offer abortion services to the community. The clinic had a soft opening on July 14 and is now open for business.
The vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood Southeast, Barbara Ann Luttrell said “It’s 11,000 square feet, a state-of-the-art facility…we will offer a full spectrum of reproductive health services.” According to Luttrell, at some point, it will start providing abortions. “I don’t have an exact date,” she said. Abortions hadn’t been offered regularly in Southside since 2017.
In 1988, the Planned Parenthood clinic in Southside was a gathering point for anti-abortion protests, especially for Operation Rescue, a “leading pro-life Christian activist” organization. Eric Robert Rudolph bombed the New Woman All Women Health Care Clinic, killing Robert Sanderson. The clinic was not affiliated with Planned Parenthood.
Anti-choice groups often surround and picket abortion clinics with volunteer “sidewalk counselors.” These “counselors” attempt to dissuade people from having an abortion. Anticipating trouble, the new facility has a “fenced-in parking area with a gate and security cameras,” according to AL News. Luttrell stated that “security is our number one concern” and “we want our staff to feel safe and secure. We want our patients to feel safe and secure.” Already, there have been protests in front of the construction site.
As the Birmingham clinic opens, Luttrell assured interviewers, saying “we are absolutely used to having anti-abortion protesters, that’s nothing new.”
Soon after the construction of the new facility began in January 2019, the Alabama Legislature passed the Human Life Protection Act. The act made abortion illegal in Alabama except when the birther’s life is in danger. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU sued to stop the law from taking effect. The law was later deemed unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson.
Luttrell stated that Planned Parenthood wants to “make sure that abortion is safe, legal and available in Alabama.” This clinic will be the fourth clinic in Alabama to provide abortion services.