HB57 February 6, 2013 Alabama House Health Committee
As I mentioned last week, I took the day off to go to Montgomery, AL to speak before the Alabama House Health Committee. Alabama is my home state so I keep very close tabs on it and return whenever I can. This trip was expensive both financially and emotionally.
Once I arrived on the 8th floor of the State House in Alabama it was apparent this was going to be a long day. The first bill that was introduced would have allowed for the use of medical marijuana in the state of Alabama was rejected within about 15 minutes. Patricia Todd, one of the few Democratic Representatives in Alabama, introduced and explained the bill for was late term cancer treatment. She explained how she had no intention of legalizing marijuana for recreational use, but only medical and in a format that is not to be smoked. There are pills and other ways to absorb the beneficial elements in marijuana and these were what she was asking the health committee to consider. They dismissed her and killed the bill……
The Next item on the agenda was HB57. This is the more recent round of TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers) legislation in Alabama. Jim McClendon is the chair person for the House health committee and in my opinion an all-around asshole. The first thing he did was attempt to convince the people who wanted to speak in opposition to reduce their numbers. He gave the people speaking in support of the bill 4 minutes to speak and the people opposed 1.5 minutes “because there were so many more people who wished to speak on the opposition”. He also made sure to tell us not to be repetitive. Some of the people who wanted to speak gave their time to clinic owners Gloria Gray and Dalton Johnson. There was no way for anyone to address even one concern of the many in HB-57 in under 2 minutes. The clinic owners will be directly affected by many of the sections of the bill so the consensus was that they should be given the most time to speak.
They addressed several points in the bill such as the building codes they would be required to meet. Gloria Gray asked how hallways 6 foot wide would make abortion safer. Joanne Cummings pointed that as things stand women are more than twice as likely, to die from childbirth than from abortion. This means passing this bill would more than double the risk of death for pregnant women in Alabama and this does not address the number of women who would potentially die from at home abortions that are not performed by doctors.
Jim McClendon cut off many of the people who spoke in opposition to HB-57, including myself, disrespectfully. He talked to us as if we were little children who were out of line. He was exceedingly gracious to the supporters of HB-57 thanking each one for their comments. Not to forget Sue McClurkin who actually proposed and introduced this piece of backwards legislation, allow me to mention how ridiculous she was. This McClurkin character had the audacity to claim the clinics operating in the state were in the habit of not abiding by health department regulations.
She said she wished this bill would do away with abortion, but claimed that was not the intent of the bill. The bitch must think the state is composed of people who can’t read. The bill clearly states that it does not recognize the right to an abortion. It also seeks to define abortion as “the taking of human life”. Come on lady do you think we are stupid. The terminology is insulting. It has no place in a law. The only goal this law could possibly have is to shut down reproductive health centers.
I spoke to the house committee, and it was insulting. Some of the members rolled their eyes, while others slept. I pointed out that outlawing abortion or reducing access will not end abortion; it will only take it back to the coat hangers and the back allies. This did not concern them. After we all spoke the bill passed the committee and goes to the house tomorrow. It terrifies me to think that this law could be law by the end of the week since its companion bill has already been introduced in the Senate…. In roughly 90 days the women in Alabama may be without a safe choice…