June 15, 2019; Associated Press
Planned Parenthood has decided that despite Alabama’s recent ban of abortions. even in cases of rape and incest, it will move forward with the construction of a brand new 10,000-square-foot clinic in Birmingham.
The facility will be ready by November, which is when the new law is due to take effect. Barbara Ann Luttrell, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based Planned Parenthood Southeast says it is a matter of following through on commitments to the group’s patients, and that Alabama has a long history of passing such laws on abortion restriction. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have sued to stop the implementation of the law.
Rev. Terry Gensemer of the Metro Birmingham Life Forum says, “It was surprising when we found out that they were going to build this. My question is after the bill passage, why are they continuing to be so aggressive when the possibility exists that they won’t be able to be in business?”
Rev. Gensemer says abortion opponents have been working to persuade the Alabama Department of Public Health not to license the facility and convince construction contractors to refuse work on the building. Regardless, Luttrell said there would be “absolutely no slowdown due to the legislative session” and the new law, and Planned Parenthood hopes to get the new law blocked by November when the clinic opens.
The new clinic will be full service, to provide birth control, cancer testing, and screening for sexually transmitted diseases as well as abortions.
“It’s going to be a big, state-of-the-art facility with several exam rooms, offices. It will just be a new, beautiful building,” said Luttrell.—Ruth McCambridge