Alabama House passes bill tightening restrictions on abortion clinics

The Alabama House on Thursday passed legislation that would stiffen the requirements for abortion clinics in the state that opponents say would force most to close.

The House approved the bill by a 73-23 vote. It now goes to the Senate for debate.

The bill would require clinics to have wider hallways and to have a doctor available when an abortion is performed.

The sponsor, Republican Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin of Pelham, said the new rules would require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as most places that perform surgical procedures.

Rep. Juandalynn Givhan, D-Birmingham, said the restrictions are so severe that most hospitals would not be able to obey the regulations.

McClurkin disagreed, saying most hospitals are under stricter regulations.

Supporters of the legislation said the rules would ensure the safety of women who have abortions.

The bill now goes to the Senate for debate.

In Mississippi, the state's lone abortion clinic might be forced to close because of stricter rules put in place by the Legislature and wholeheartedly endorsed by the governor.