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May 6, 2016

First they came for the sex offenders, then for the abortion providers...

This new Mother Jones article, headlined "Alabama Passes a Bill to Regulate Abortion Clinics Like Sex Offenders," reports on how a common legislative restiction on sex offenders has inspired a restriction on abortion providers in Alabama. Here is how the article starts: 

Alabama lawmakers passed two bills in the waning hours of their legislative session on Wednesday that could close two of the state's five abortion clinics and make it harder for women to receive abortions in their second trimester.

One of the bills prohibits abortion clinics from operating within 2,000 feet of an elementary or middle school—the same restriction that applies to sex offenders. If Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signs the bill, it may force two of the state's five abortion clinics to close, including a clinic in Huntsville which is the only one providing abortion care in the northern half of Alabama. The clinic just moved to its current location, across the street from a school, in 2014, in order to comply with other abortion restrictions passed in Alabama in 2013.

The sponsor of the bill, Alabama state Sen. Paul Sanford, likened the restrictions to those imposed on sex offenders. "We can put a restriction on whether a liquor store opens up across the street and make sure pedophiles stay away from schools," he told the Times Daily in February. "I just think having an abortion clinic that close to elementary-age school children that actually have to walk on the sidewalk past it is not the best thing."

May 6, 2016 at 08:43 AM | Permalink


It's very telling, the rationale behind the bill. "I think it's not the best thing" carries roughly the same empirical support as does enforcing residency restrictions on sex offenders, but the purpose is clear -- it is nothing but NIMBY.

One of the abortion clinics implicated moved across the street from a school in order to comply with restrictions passed in 2013, and would be required to move again if this legislation is signed into law. Undoubtedly a tale that will sound familiar to hundreds of thousands of people on the registry and their families.

Posted by: Guy | May 6, 2016 8:55:38 AM

And when they came for me there was no one left to speak up for me.

Posted by: BarkinDog | May 6, 2016 10:14:44 AM

If any of those school children has a mom who happened to have had an abortion, should they keep 2,000 ft. away her?
How ridiculous.
Is this idiotic new bill supposed to keep children safer? From what? There's usually candy stores, take-out places, etc. close to schools. All not necessarily "the best thing" for kids either, but they're there all the same.
These holier than thou bible thumpers need to find something better to do with their time then trying to pass laws that are just plain stupid.

Posted by: kat | May 6, 2016 11:10:21 AM

Wonder given the level of TRAP laws in this country how the regulations of abortion clinics and sex offenders match up.

Posted by: Joe | May 6, 2016 11:49:04 AM

But WHO WILL THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!111!!!!!111??????

Posted by: Fat Bastard | May 6, 2016 11:59:41 AM

Will someone please tell me, seriously: why does anyone live in Alabama?

Posted by: Emily | May 6, 2016 1:23:07 PM

"Will someone please tell me, seriously: why does anyone live in Alabama?"

As to Liberty, as Alabama goes, so goes the country!

You can send your thank you notes to the US Supreme Court in care of Doe vs. Miller.

I thank God every day that IANAL! At least my thinking is less warped.

Posted by: albeed | May 6, 2016 1:35:17 PM

Emily writes: "Will someone please tell me, seriously: why does anyone live in Alabama?"

Don't give up hope. I see that the Alabama Judicial Commission has just suspended Judge Roy Moore from being Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, pending trial on whether he should be kicked off the court in light of his orders to probate judges to disregard Obergefell.

Posted by: Dave from Texas | May 8, 2016 1:43:44 PM

Emily writes: "Will someone please tell me, seriously: why does anyone live in Alabama?" Simple, it's the fishing and cheap land prices.

Posted by: Ed | May 9, 2016 4:47:46 PM

Except, abortion is a protected right, not alcohol.

Many folks may leave alabama if they have the choice, but jobs,family, or simply lack of money and mobility may cause issues.

Posted by: pat hunt | Jun 4, 2016 4:31:19 AM

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