Today, Alabama governor Robert Bentley signed HB 57, a Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) bill that would likely force all of the state's abortion clinics to close down. It has a cute name, too: the "Women's Health and Safety Act." Aww, thanks, Bento. (Can we call you Bento?) Alabama women will be laughing all the way out of state/into the metaphorical back alley to find an abortion provider if the bill is enforced as planned.
Just like similar TRAP bills in states like North Dakota and Mississippi, HB 57 would require abortion clinics to solely employ doctors who have admitting privileges at local hospitals and require clinics to meet the same building safety codes as ambulatory surgical centers, among other mandates. The bill's supporters say these precautions are crucial to protect women's "health and safety," but they're lying. The strict codes are completely unnecessary and they know abortion providers will have a tough time applying for privileges in the conservative state; in Mississippi, the sole abortion provider failed to find a single eligible hospital to work with.
Nikema Williams, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood Southeast, told AL.com that none of the five abortion clinics in Alabama meet all of the requirements in the new law. "We're leaving every option on the table, including litigation, to remain accessible and affordable for women in Alabama who depend on us for health care," Williams said.
In Alabama, 55 percent of all pregnancies are unintended and a half-million women in the state are in need of contraception. Sounds like a women's health crisis to us! But thanks to the so-called "Women's Health and Safety Act," clinics now have 180 days to to spend their time and resources on submitting architectural drawings and sprinkler system plans if they want to stay open. But hey, you can't blame Bento Box (can we call you Bento Box?), since God Himself told the governor that ladies need protection from access to reproductive health. "We need to remember we are dealing with human life and this is what God expects us to do,” he recently told the Associated Press. What was that about safety codes again?