Guess who thronged the sidewalks to protest on the first Saturday that the Alabama Women's Center was open at its new location? Not the neighbors. Not the local business owners. Imagine a surreal, twisted remake of "Grumpy Old Men" & you'll get it. It was just the regular, "weaned on a pickle" faces of anti-choice Huntsville. Doesn't this guy look happy to be there?
This was a "big shock" to clinic supporters (snark), because the opponents were vocal and confident when they told the Huntsville Zoning Board that the "neighborhood" didn't want the clinic in the new location. They offered two reasons.
Local politico Chris Horn cited neighborhood concerns at the meeting. He spoke on behalf of "hundreds" who hadn't bothered to show up at the meeting. Later, a priest who lives 100 miles away played the race card. Watch a video clip of the hearing.
And yet, the first Saturday after the clinic opened, here's the crew who showed up:
Do they look remotely like the same group that was protesting in October 2013 & who appear on a weekly basis?
Crikey! Some of them are even wearing the same clothes. Kind of like their "oppress women" uniforms.
Towards the end of the protest, their leader, James Henderson, snatched one of FIVE bullhorns used by the group & made a speech. Yes campers, 14 people came armed with FIVE bullhorns. Isn't that special?
While we have video of Henderson's ranting, I'm not posting it. He can get his 50 seconds of fame somewhere else. But he reported that he had been at Saturday's meeting of the Madison County Republican Men's Club & confidently promised his motley group of acolytes that "Governor Bentley's office" would intervene in the clinic zoning dispute.
"Delusional" barely describes the man. No matter how little authority local governments have under the Alabama Constitution, they can regulate zoning. That's not the purview of the Governor's office.
North Alabama women once again have a convenient location for health screenings, tests, and abortions. The Alabama Women's Center has reopened in its new location. The previous building didn't comply with the state's new TRAP laws, and the clinic's owner fought a long battle with protesters and state & local government agencies to relocate.
This was not an easy process. Opponents fought the clinic at every turn with outrageous arguments and even accusations of racism:
While the clinic has been closed, North Alabama women have had to pay the TRAP tax and travel to Tuscaloosa or go out of state. Not surprisingly, that presented a time and financial challenge for many, but hundreds of donors and volunteers (heroes & heroines, all) stepped up to help pay expenses and ferry patients to more distant locations.
Congratulations to the clinic owners, employees, and dedicated volunteers from the Alabama Reproductive Rights Advocates (ARRA). It would have been so easy to give up and walk away, but y'all stood strong in the face of verbal harrassment, legal threats, and delays.
The good guys (and gals) won one for themselves and for the women of North Alabama.
Isn't this just the face women need to see before & after they leave the "Reproductive Health Services" clinic in Montgomery? Ladies, meet David. He cares so much about your health that he spends his valuable personal time picketing and trespassing on private property in order to yell "babykiller" and other epithets through the windows of the clinic.
We're not kidding about trespassing. He was so proud of being arrested for trespassing that he filmed it. He explained to police that he had "no choice" because the sprinkler sprayed the sidewalk. And yet, he had a choice whether or not to be on the sidewalk in the first place. Details, details.
This self-righteous street preacher is a fixture at Montgomery's sole women's clinic. That's nothing unusual: most clinics have a regular gang of protesters. We've reported extensively on the faces of anti-choice Huntsville. But there's always a ringleader who can be counted on to be over-the-top in behavior & rhetoric.
In Huntsville, we have the oozing self-importance of Rev. James Henderson, who offers free legal advice to federal judges. Montgomery has David here. Judging from his stance in this photo taken yesterday, he also appears to be an aspiring Victoria's Secret model - as soon as he, ahem, grows a pair. Eat more Twinkies son, you'll get there....
The clinic escorts in Montgomery invite y'all to participate in a photo caption contest for David. Suggestions include:
Secret Shopper at Frederick's of Hollywood
"Do you carry something in a nice DDD?"
"Why don't the ladies dig me?"
Share your suggestions in the comments! The clinics escorts can have posters made. Maybe the winner can receive an autographed copy!
Seriously though, people like this are the reason we have FACE laws (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) and why some states instituted strict buffer zones around clinics. Protesters want courts to believe that they only want to pray, counsel women, and offer them alternatives to abortion. Some undoubtedly are telling the absolute truth. However, they do nothing to reign in the obstreperous, judgmental majority of protesters who do their best to shame and upset women entering the clinics - potentially causing them physical harm.
The court found the interest in protecting patients in and around the clinics was compelling, especially given physicians' testimony that amplified sound can cause anxiety and high blood pressure, hindering patients' recovery.
Huntsville's only women's clinic is closed temporarily, so what's a bored abortion opponent to do? Why, protest at the previous location of course. The fact that it's occupied by a female OB-GYN who is pro-choice just puts the cherry on top. For months, we've been following the saga of Huntsville's Alabama Women's Center as it struggles to comply with the TRAP (Targeted Regulations Against Abortion Providers) bill passed by the GOP supermajority. (Part of the bill was struck down by a federal judge. Read coverage of the hearings here.)
As of now, the clinic remains closed, pending final inspection and approval from state & local government. Not surprisingly, the state is taking its time sending someone up here and the city is now embroiled in a lawsuit over the zoning.
That's right campers! The supermajority's TRAP law is costing taxpayers money at the state and local levels. That's quite the twist on their pledge of "fiscal responsibility."
So, with the actual clinic closed, what's a dedicated anti-choice protester to do with his/her time? Maybe they could volunteer to help with the many humanitarian needs in our community: the hungry, the homeless, the kids needing mentors, sick people without medical care, elderly & homebound residents who need a helping hand.....
NOPE. This Huntsville group has decided to go "back to the future" and protest at the old clinic location. You know: the one where abortions are no longer performed and the place where a private physician has set up an OB/GYN practice.
This isn't the first time protesters have tried to disrupt this doctor's private practice. They picketed her old office as well - directly across from a middle school school. Why their intense interest and determination to disrupt a private medical practice?
She used to be a physician at the clinic, but folded under the pressure & threats from the anti-choice zealots. It's understandable: many doctors have to make the same choice to protect themselves, their families, and employees. But here's the thing: the protesters won. They forced her to stop working at the clinic - but they're still harrassing her and her patients.
It seems that these goons just can't stop yelling at pregnant women - even women who are hoping to carry their pregnancies to term.
The word "bully" just doesn't seem to cover it.
The photos accompanying this post were taken yesterday outside the doctor's office. If you're confused by the "White Abortionist" sign, just understand that the doctor's last name is hyphenated and the protesters apparently have problems with proper punctuation.
URGE - Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity - invites young (age 17-25) Alabama activists to attend the "Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute" training in Tuscaloosa next month. The weekend-long retreat will "introduct young activists to the reproductive justice movement and basic organizing skills.
URGE envisions a world where all people have agency over their own bodies and relationships, and the power, knowledge, and tools to exercise that agency. URGE builds this vision by engaging young people in creating and leading the way to sexual and reproductive justice for all by providing training, field mobilization, and national leadership for a youth-driven agenda
At a meeting of the Huntsville Zoning Commission Tuesday night, James Henderson, Executive Director of the Christian Coalition of Alabama decided to take a traditional approach & blame federal judges for his problems. Traditional, that is, for Alabama. We're the state remember, that likes to thumb our nose at Washington with one hand while we pocket federal cash with the other.
Judge Thompson's opinion (PDF) specifically called out Huntsville clinic protestors for creating a hostile, violent atmosphere outside the clinics (noisy too - note the bullhorn), outlined the state's "history of violence & threats againt abortion doctors," and noted that the "protests in Huntsville go beyond run-of-the-mill political protests."
Apparently, being called out on their bad behavior injured the tender feelings of Henderson & his crew because several mentioned the judge during their speeches to the board. But only Henderson offered specific instructions:
"He should mind his own business and stay out of ours."
Except that, Jenderson's "business" is denying women their constitutional right, so who better to get involved than a federal judge?
The "faces of anti-choice Huntsville" swarmed the city zoning board hearing last night in a last ditch attempt to keep North Alabama's lone women's clinic from reopening in a new location. In a breathtaking display of chutzpah, speaker after speaker - some of whom live more than 50 miles from the proposed location - went concern trolling. They cited concerns about "the neighborhood" and "disruptions" caused by protests at the previous clinic location.
Why yes.... block the sidewalks, bus in scores of children, bellow at passersby through a bullhorn, and assault clinic escorts.... and then complain about the "tension & violence" associated with the clinic.
The Huntsville clinic has been closed since the end of June, forcing many women to go out of state. The clinic owner found a new location that complies with the TRAP laws - the same laws that the demonstrators lobbied so hard to pass. But it's still not good enough. While some speakers tried to pretend it was just "concern" about the neighborhood, others were pretty candid. They don't like abortion & don't want a clinic to open anywhere.
One speaker, GOP legislative candidate Chris Horn, even obliquely referred to the events in Ferguson, MO as an example of what can happen when neighborhood residents don't have a voice. Except that residents do have a voice - and a forum where they could have exercised their rights last night. However, of all the opposition speakers, only Horn actually lives in the neighborhood. The next closest speaker is more than a mile from the new clinic location, and the main speaker, Rev. James Henderson, lives in Morgan County.
In spite of repeated requests to stick to the topic at hand - zoning - and avoid wading into the abortion debate or causing a disruption, many speakers just couldn't help themselves. A favorite moment was when a monk from Cullman stressed that neighborhood residents don't want this clinic! The next speaker? A woman who lives .8 miles from the clinic & who spoke in favor of the location. oops....
Another favorite moment: Rev. Henderson railing about "Wiccan witch smoke" being used against his group.
Watch the video clip for a sample of the evening's activities. In spite of all the Sturm und Drang, the zoning board voted against the appeal. Reverend Henderson, unwilling to give up his time in the limelight, promises a court challenge.
Note: I'll also have video up with the remarks of clinic supporters, but have to tend to other matters today. Coming soon!
It was a motley crew: the leader was a guy with a theory of "post-abortion syndrome" & a Home Ec degree. Others included: the plastic surgeon who screwed up Linda Tripp's face lift; a male emergency room doctor who needs to be "told" why a woman has come to the hospital with complications; a sociologist who thinks it's no big deal if poor women have to travel hundreds of miles & spend days in hotels in order to get a legal medical procedure; & a North Carolina obstetrician & professor who travels the country (for money) supporting TRAP laws as "the current standard of care."
Let's start with the ringleader: Vincent Rue, who collected a whopping $82,890 from Alabama during 2013 & 2014.
Rue has a long and sordid history as a professional "anti-abortion expert." He's a psychotherapist (or is that "psycho" therapist?) who coined the term "post-abortion syndrome" to refer to a form of mental illness women experience after getting an abortion. Which would mean, essentially, that he believes one in three American women is mentally ill. He's also a proponent of giving men veto power over their partner's abortion (because of the "damage" abortion does to men, you understand), meaning that he thinks men have a "right" to control women's reproductive choices. Hey girls! They may transfer the sperm to you, but they still own it!
Rue, who holds a doctorate in family relations from the University of North Carolina School of Home Economics, has claimed that "abortion reescalates the battle between the sexes" and "abortion increases bitterness toward men." For decades, he has strived to convince mainstream researchers to recognize "post-abortion syndrome," a supposed mental illness resulting from abortion.
But "after submission for peer review by scientists with the Center for Disease Control, the National Center for Health Statistics and other scientific institutions, [Rue's] study was found to have 'no value' and to be 'based upon a priori beliefs rather than an objective review of the evidence,'" according to Daniel Huyett, a federal judge who disregarded Rue's testimony in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a landmark 1990 abortion case that eventually ended up before the Supreme Court. "His testimony is devoid of…analytical force and scientific rigor," Huyett added. "Moreover, his admitted personal opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, suggests a possible personal bias." Rue "possesses neither the academic qualifications nor the professional experience of plaintiffs' expert witnesses," another federal judge wrote in 1986 after hearing Rue's testimony in another landmark abortion case, Hodgson v. Minnesota.
Rue has testified, written reports, and coached witness during abortion lawsuits since the mid-1980's. In the past two years alone, he's pocketed over $200,000 in taxpayer money from Alabama, North Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Next up, we have emergency room physician Dr. James Anderson, who was paid $16,350 to essentially repeat testimony that Vincent Rue prepared for him. Anderson defended the "admitting privliges" requirement in Alabama's TRAP law because women might be "embarrassed" to admit they'd had an abortion (reckon why?) and he wouldn't know why they were bleeding unless the doctor who performed the procedure was on hand. What a medical marvel he is!
Dr. Anderson has a history of being Rue's mouthpiece (think of the scene in "Chicago" where Roxie sits on lawyer Billy Flynn's lap). From the Mother Jones article:
Rue engaged James C. Anderson, a Virginia emergency room physician, to testify not only in Wisconsin, but also in Alabama, Alaska, North Dakota, and Texas.
Rue often drafts written testimony for his star witnesses. In Alabama, Anderson testified that Rue had written his supplemental report to the court—Anderson had merely signed his name to it. When pressed by the judge, Anderson revealed that Rue had provided most of the research for his main report, too.
According to Anderson, Rue helped coordinate witnesses to defend Alaska's 2010 parental notification law.
A few days earlier, in Alabama, Anderson testified that he didn't know courts had disregarded Rue's testimony.
"You say you don't know his employment or any organizations that he belongs to," the judge asked Anderson. "Why do you trust him?"
Another member of Rue's crew, Dr. John Thorp, is a North Carolina ob/gyn & professor at Chapel Hill. He collected $34,131.25.
Dr. Thorp has allegedly researched the "physical harm" done to women by abortions. His study on that harm was refused by peer-reviewed journals & only saw print when he placed it in a "pay to publish" journal.
Thorp ran into some trouble when he testified in Wisconsin. Turns out he has problems with decimal places:
We missed Congresswoman Sewell's July 1 statement on the SCOTUS ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, but it's well-worth sharing after the fact. Sewell highlights many of the important elements in the decision & warns about the long-term impact on all employees of "closely held corporations - not just women.
Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell released the following statement following the Supreme Court’s ruling that the government can’t require “closely held” corporations with religious owners to provide contraception coverage to their employees:
“The Supreme Court’s decision to allow select corporations to withhold health care options to their female employees is a disappointing setback for women’s health in our country. This decision represents a broad and dangerous precedent and is a slippery slope that could allow corporations to cherry pick which laws to abide by now and in the future.
I fully believe that employers, insurers, and politicians have no place in a woman’s health care decisions. Make no mistake – the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement does not force a corporation to provide contraceptives or even encourage their use, but rather to simply provide their employees with health coverage so they can make their own health care decisions. Given that 90 percent of America’s businesses are ‘closely held,’ I am confident that millions of American women and their families will be immediately affected by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the ACA’s contraceptive coverage requirement.
The federal government must take action immediately to ensure that all women have affordable access to comprehensive health care without interference from their employers. I will continue to fight on behalf of America’s women to ensure they have full access to the fundamental health care they need and deserve.”
The statewide group Alabama Reproductive Rights Advocates (ARRA) has received multiple requests for assistance from North Alabama women this week. Prohibited from receiving medical care in their own community by Alabama's TRAP law, they're faced with traveling to Nashville, Tuscaloosa, or even Columbus, GA.
Several members of the group have helped these women with personal donations, driven hours with them to appointments in other cities/states, and cobbled together groups of volunteers who are willing to offer free lodging and/or transportation. As one frustrated volunteer noted: "It's like we're setting up a $%$# Underground Railroad."
During the federal court hearings this spring on the TRAP law, a witness predicted just this situation, calling the laws, "a tax on women."
ARRA sent us this plea for assistance & asked if our LIA community members can help by donating online here.
"As many of you know, our women's clinic in Huntsville was unable to meet the building requirements of the TRAP law. We are starting to get calls for help from young women needing an abortion. We want to start this fund to help with travel expenses and a partial funding of the abortion when needed. It will also cover pregnancy tests or Plan B (the morning after pill) for those that can't afford it. West Alabama Women's Center in Tuscaloosa has agreed to take the Huntsville patients until the clinic is reopened.
Thank you SO much!!
Tuscaloosa is a 2 1/2 hour drive from Huntsville and Alabama has a 48 hour waiting period law (because, you know, pregnant women are flighty, right? We have to stop them from just pulling into an clinic and impulsively getting an abortion). That means women who travel there either have to pay for meals & hotels or make two trips, for a total of 10 hours travel time, 2 days lost from work/school, and added cost for gas. The extra travel cost is not insubstantial: 600 miles total at 30 miles/gallon is 20 gallons of fuel and adds about $70 to the cost - more than a day's pay for a minimum wage worker who's probably already missing work to travel.
No donation is too small - no donation is too large! It all goes to help women facing situations that are already difficult both financially and emotionally. Thanks to the Alabama Legislature, the whole experience is just that much harder.
The Supreme Court has ruled that a closely-held company can be exempt from the contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The closely watched case pitted the administration and its allies, including women’s health advocates, against the religious right, which has repeatedly accused President Barack Obama of waging a war on religion in the public square.
Hobby Lobby Stores, an Oklahoma-based, evangelical-owned craft chain with about 13,000 employees, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a small Mennonite-owned cabinet maker in Pennsylvania, were two of the 49 for-profit companies that said the requirement violated their religious freedom.
The Obama administration had provided exemptions for the law for houses of worship and an accommodation for religious nonprofits (the subject of pending litigation) but not for for-profit corporations.
Well, well, well... shouldn't we now expect a lot of for-profit businesses to "get religion?" Why, what if your personal religion prohibits blood transfusions, organ transplants, vaccinations, or what not? Oh, the court specifically ruled that this decision doesn't cover those religious objections. Just birth control. Nice work, guys.
As Mitt Romney famously stated: "Corporations are people, my friend." And now they control not only an employee's economic future, but, thanks to SCOTUS, employee's access to womens' health care needs as well.
Expect to hear more about this from Democrats in the fall campaign. Republicans running against birth control is a winning issue - for Democrats. And the justices who voted in the majority were appointed by Republicans.
If for no other reason, it's why the GOP can never again gain control of the Senate or the Presidency.
This is a short post, but an important one. The state & anti-choice protestors will do whatever is necessary to keep the Huntsville women's clinic closed. That's an action that leaves a gaping hole in abortion services in Alabama. It's a hole that stretches from Tuscaloosa to Nashville.
Campers... will we permit this? NOOOOOO!
This is easy. You don't have to show up anywhere to escort (although that would be nice). You don't have to write a letter (although you could do that too).
This is in response to the TRAP bill passed by the legislature this session. Clinics have new requirements to meet - requirements that do NOT apply to most other outpatient facilities, hence the name "Targeted Regulations Against Abortion Providers."
Clinic officials did submit blue prints for a new location to move the clinic off Sparkman Drive for approval from the state Department of Public Health.
According to Brian Hale, Deputy General Counsel with Alabama Department of Public Health, the blue prints have not been approved yet because they're waiting for response from the clinic's architect on making minor alterations to the interior.
It's not clear if that can be done by Tuesday's deadline.
"The clinic is still going through the approval process with the state," said Clinic Administrator, Dalton Johnson, "We will continue the fight to re-open at the new facility while we continue to follow every letter of the law."
"It will be a sad day for us to close our doors because it means women of North Alabama will no longer have access to the multiple health care services we provide, not just abortions," said Johnson.
The clinic has already jumped other hurdles in the law requiring its physicians to have admitting privileges to area hospitals and adhering to the 48-hour waiting period requirement for women to have the procedure.
While this is a sad event, it's not the end of the story. Without the tireless efforts of pro-choice activists & volunteers, the original clinic might have closed well before the TRAP bill passed. So it's a good time to give a shout out to the dedicated group of volunteer clinic escorts who have showed up no matter what the weather (literally, the last time I was there, it was sleeting and about 20 degress outside, but the experienced escorts weren't fazed a bit), no matter how many antis thronged the sidewalks (adults & kids who sang the delightful "happy birthday dead baby" song), and kept their heads no matter what the provocation.
Here's some of our coverage of these local heroes:
The ACLU of Alabama invites you to its third annual "Roe on the Rocks" happy hour. It's a fun, informal event where you can meet ACLU staff and network with like-minded people. The event itself is free, with a cash bar.
Huntsville anti-choice protesters are worried about the "impact on children" if the city's lone women's clinic moves from its present location to a new building that complies with the state's TRAP law. The problem, they assert, is that the new location is directly across from a middle school and so represents both a safety and moral hazard for the children.
Well, if anyone should recognize a "moral hazard," it's this group of zealots.
Oddly though, they haven't raised this particular concern about the current location, which is 2 blocks from Huntsville Middle School and two buildings away from Huntsville Hospital's child care center. And, as clinic supporters point out, nobody could distinguish either the current or future location from any other medical facility if it weren't for the protesters out front waving signs, passing out fetus dolls, and busing in school children to sing such ditties as "Happy Birthday, Dead Baby" to women entering the building.
In their rather unusual version of logic, bringing their own small children to stand on the sidewalk in front of a busy 5-lane road and busing in children from local Christian shools is fine, but having children attending the school across the 5-lane road, who are inside the building learning most of the day, is a problem. They also weren't worried about it when they picketed this very same building last year because the doctor who occupied it was pro-choice.
Publicity-hungry politico, Chris Horn, joined the group in a protest yesterday outside the new clinic location and complained about the effect on neighborhood property values. Trouble is, the current clinic location is next to the historic Twickenham District, one of the most pricey and exclusive areas of the city. If the clinic and the sign-waving "counselors" out front haven't been an issue for residents there, it's unlikely that the new location will be an issue either.
Now, the problem here is that the building is already zoned for a medical facility, the clinic's owner has completed the purchase, and it complies with the new anti-abortion TRAP laws. That means the anti-choice people had to find a new complaint, so they went with the easy choice: racism.
Abortion advocates are targeting the black community in northwest Huntsville with plans to relocate its downtown clinic to a facility on Sparkman Drive, anti-abortion protestors said Saturday.
Yes campers, locating a reproductive health clinic that provides affordable services to women including pap smears, STD screenings, pregnancy tests, birth control, and abortion in an existing building that's zoned as a medical clinic and happens to be in a low-income, mostly African American neighborhood is now a racist act. The clinic welcomes all women - even if they don't have health insurance, which many do not since our state declined to expand Medicaid. Have you ever tried to call a local OB/GYN and make an appointment? The first question is "What kind of insurance do you have?" See how much farther you get if the answer is "none."
What are these protesters doing to help those women? Nothing.
But don't expect to hear any of that from the Huntsville Times reporter, Paul Gattis, whose article on the protest was rightly condemned as biased. He defended himself in the comments this way:
Yep. All you "pro-abortion" harridans stop yer whinin'! If y'all want to get out and wave picket signs and block the sidewalk in front of legal businesses, we'll be happy to give you the coverage you deserve.
EXCEPT.... remember the Women's Rights rally in Huntsville in April? The one that we covered with these posts that included video and partial transcripts of the speeches:
You saw none of that from the local newspaper, although several TV stations did stop by. So apparently, when hundreds gather to rally for women and statewide candidates for office attend, it gets a "yawn" from Mr. Gattis & his fellow reporters. But when a couple of dozen protesters scream about reproductive choice being some sort of racist plot, they're all over the story.
Speaking in Huntsville on Sunday, State Rep. Joe Hubbard discussed his candidacy for Attorney General & castigated the GOP legislative supermajority for "using women as a stepping stone" to political power. He also discussed his support for a bill to allow certified midwives to legally deliver babies in Alabama.
Rep. Hubbard voted in favor of HB489 (the 48 hour waiting period bill) this year both in committee and on the floor of the House and was one of 7 Democrats who voted in favor of the TRAP (targeted regulations against abortion providers) bill last year. In this speech however, he castigated the GOP members who push such bills:
They pursue punitive legislation that inserts government in the bedroom and into the decisions solely between a woman and her partner and her God. For me, that's unacceptable.
Every day, we hear Republicans and TEA party members complaining about over-intrusive government, but the reality is, on their issues, they want government to be as big as possible. That's what we call hypocrisy.
Refreshingly - for an Alabama Attorney General anyway - Hubbard also said this about Attorneys General across the country who have refused to defend unconstitutional laws in court.
The Attorney General of a state has to stand up and defend laws. But if a law is unconstitutional, it's unconstitutional! We're not in the business of passing laws just to get headlines.
Somebody needs to tell that to the Alabama Legislature.
Here's the video. In it, Hubbard looks good, is articulate, and touches on many important points. As with any candidate, it's our job to let him know that we're listening to what he says now & expect that he will follow through when in office.
Kathy Wells has worked on women's health & domestic violence issues for 35 years, & that surprises her. "I thought if we worked hard enough, we could end the violence. That thought lasted about 6 months, until I spoke to a group of men who laughed through the entire presentation."
Yesterday, the Alabama Senate Health Committee voted 7-1 in favor of a package of anti-choice bills - including one that effectively outlaws all abortions in Alabama with no exceptions. Supporters expect to bring them to the floor of the Senate tomorrow and opponents don't have the votes to stop the GOP supermajority.
Today, HB31 (the so-called Conscience Clause bill) is on the Senate calendar for a vote. That's the bill that allows any health care worker to deny a woman treatment or prescriptions just by citing religioius belief - but ONLY if the treatment is associated with ladyparts.
It used to be that the Alabama Senate was where good bills went to die. Now it's where bad bills go to catch an express train to Federal court.
Here's a short clip of Kathy Wells explaining the challenges women face both here in world wide.
As one attendee described today's public hearing, it was "7 white guys, 1 black woman, and 1 white female secretary" in session to pass discuss laws that affect the women of Alabama. And the guys decided that they know better than the gals & their doctors how to handle the female reproductive system.
Democratic Senator Linda Coleman was the only dissenting vote, but she's not the only Democrat on the committee. Once again, we get screwed by the "leaders" in our own party as they happily jump on the "pass unconstitutional bills & cost the state money" gravy train for lawyers. The full roll calls should be available tomorrow. Two senators who have opposed such legislation in the past - Democrat Billy Beasley & Independent Harri Anne Smith - skipped the hearing.
Kudos to those who stood up against the bills, including Joann Cummings and Dr. Hines from Shelby County ER, who spoke from experience as a medical professional:
"These bills intrude into medical care of our patients."
"You are trying to criminalize my job to my patients."
Like that's ever bothered the Legislature before. The Senate is in session now & could take up the 48-hour waiting period bill. Because, of course, that's more important than passing an actual state budget.
It may take all week to edit and upload the terrific speeches from yesterday's rally in Huntsville, but we want to lead off with the comments of Sharon McClendon Price of Guntersville. She's a constituent - and nemesis - of State Senator Clay Scofield, an unmarried chicken farmer from Marshall County who was responsible for 2012's vaginal ultrasound bill.
Scofield was totally unprepared for the wrath of his constituents - particularly Ms. Price. If you wonder why his intense interest in ladyparts dimmed after that dust up, you need look no farther than this awesome video.
Thank you, Ms. Price! You did a tremendous service to the state of Alabama and we thank you for it.
Note, we'll have video up later today & throughout the week of other speeches & the remarks of candidates who attended - including AG candidate Joe Hubbard, 5th District Congressional candidate Mark Bray, and Gubernatorial candidate Parker Griffith.
Organizers of tomorrow's Women's Rights Rally in Huntsville have announced an impressive lineup of speakers including Lt. Gov. candidate James Fields, AG candidate Joe Hubbard, & Gov. candidate Parker Griffith. In addition, the crowd will hear from legislative candidates, Democratic leaders, enjoy music, and a parade.
A good time will surely be had by all, and this is a terrific opportunity to meet candidates in person and hear their views.
Parker Griffith will no doubt be asked to comment on this recent AL.com story about his candidacy and comment that he's a "pro-life Democrat."
Bring your checkbooks because the Huntsville women's clinic defenders will be raising money with a bake sale and great buttons, jewelry, and other merchandise. Other Democratic Party & community groups will have information tables as well. It's a great networking opportunity.
The rally is in Big Spring Park in downtown Huntsville from 2-4pm. The weather is expected to be lovely, so come join us and be sure to stop by the Left In Alabama table to say hello!