BIRMINGHAM – Planned Parenthood is paving the way for another possible fight against abortion in Alabama: a large women's clinic under construction despite the state's almost complete ban on abortions.
Located adjacent to an interstate highway in downtown Birmingham, this 10,000 square foot structure is now more than just a steel structure and roof. Workers under the constant surveillance of security guards seem to be installing electrical cables as well as heating and cooling units.
The new facility could be completed around November, when the new law will come into force unless it is blocked by the courts. Critics of abortion vowed to oppose the opening, but a spokeswoman for the women's health organization said neither the new law nor the opponents were a factor in the project.
"We are a physician we have been counting on for decades and we are committed to continuing to provide this care," said Barbara Ann Luttrell, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Southeast, based in Atlanta.
Construction work began in January and continues despite the legislature's passing of a law banning abortion in the state unless the life of the mother is in danger. Legislators have rejected exemptions for cases of rape and incest.
Groups such as Planned Parenthood have taken legal action to block the law, which, according to their supporters, will become the means used by a conservative-style US Supreme Court to overturn the 1972 decision in the Roe vs case. . Wade, who legalized abortion in the country.
But no court hearing is set, so opponents of abortion say they hope the opening will be blocked by a combination of the new law, public pressure and a state agency.
Regardless of the law, abortion opponents aim to convince the Alabama Public Health Department to refuse a license for the facility, and they have tried to convince entrepreneurs to construction to refuse building work through phone calls and emails, said Reverend Terry Gensemer. from the Birmingham Life Forum Metro.
"It was surprising when we learned that they were going to build that," Gensemer said. "My question is, after the adoption of the bill, why do they continue to be so aggressive when it is possible that they can not be in business?"
Alabama has a long tradition of laws aimed at restricting abortion and Luttrell said there was "absolutely no slowdown due to the legislative session" or the new law.
Until now, the only work delays could be related to a rainy spring, she said, and Planned Parenthood abides by all the laws "so there can be no reason not to get a license. "
The new clinic, which extends over several thousand square feet, will be located on land that records the organization purchased last year for $ 430,600. She would replace the current family planning clinic in Birmingham, where opponents say that abortions have not been performed regularly since 2017. According to Luttrell, the current clinic is making appointments for the procedure when it is needed. she can find a doctor to perform abortions.
The clinic of the nonprofit organization Mobile is closed for renovation, said Luttrell. This leaves only three abortion clinics operating in the state in Montgomery, Tuscaloosa and Huntsville. None of them is exploited by Planned Parenthood.
Luttrell said Planned Parenthood hoped the courts would block the new law before the new clinic was ready to open. In addition to abortion, he will offer birth control, cancer screening and sexually transmitted disease screening, she said.
"It will be a large, state-of-the-art facility with multiple examination rooms, offices, and only a new and beautiful building," said Luttrell.
But an opponent of the project, Reverend Harry Reeder of the Briarwood Presbyterian Church influence in the suburbs of Birmingham, said the clinic is "designed to give false recommendations" to women: abortion is the best way to handle a unwanted pregnancy.
"We are standing up and we are going to kneel to pray that this facility is not built," Reeder said at a press conference in front of the construction site on Thursday.
This article was written by Jay Reeves, Associated Press reporter.