Alabama Governor signs bill regulating “WebCam” abortions

By Dave Andrusko

Jacquie Stalnaker of Silent no More (left), Cheryl Ciamarra, Legislative Director for Alabama Citizens for life, and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley

Jacquie Stalnaker of Silent no More (left), Cheryl Ciamarra, Legislative Director for Alabama Citizens for life, and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley today signed the multi-pronged Women’s Health and Safety Act which includes provisions to regulate so-called “webcam” abortions, require abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, and require abortion clinics  to meet the same building safety codes as ambulatory surgical centers.

Webcam abortions refers to a huge new initiative by Planned Parenthood to bypass the critical need for the abortionist to be in room with a woman when she receives chemical abortifacients–RU-486—and conduct a physical exam.

Instead,  the abortionist can be hundreds of miles away from the woman, communicating with her via video conferencing. He pushes a button and a cabinet opens in front of the pregnant woman. Inside are the two-drugs that make up the RU-486 abortion technique.

“Having the abortionist physically present and performing an examination on the mother prior to an abortion are the factors that are known to reduce complications, “ said Cheryl Ciamarra, Legislative Director for Alabama Citizens for life, who led a coalition of over 60 organizations to pass this bill this year.

The Women’s Health and Safety Act (HB57) passed the Senate 22 to 10, with the pro-life Democratic Senate Minority Leader Sen. Roger Bedford joining his Republican colleagues. The measure passed after more than five hours of filibuster.

Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard

Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard

In the first few days of the 2013 Alabama session House Speaker Mike Hubbard made it a priority to pass HB57. The bill passed the House 68-21 on the same day it prevailed in the Senate.

“Alabama Citizens for Life is appreciative of the hard work and dedication of Sen. Scott Beason and Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin to pass the Women’s Health and Safety Act,” said Ciamarra. “Today Gov. Bentley signed the bill into law.” Joining the governor at the signing ceremony were Lt. Gov. Kay Ivy and Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard.

“For decades it was nearly impossible to get pro-life bills even brought up in committee due to the stronghold that pro-abortion Democratic leadership had on the state legislature,” Ciamarra said. “We are delighted the Republican  majority has made women’s health a priority by placing this bill in their package this year and seeing it come into law.”

Mary Spaulding Balch, JD, NRLC’s director of State Legislation, told NRL News Today why HB57 is an important piece of legislation:

“It prevents abortion businesses such as Planned Parenthood from implementing their web-cam abortion plans for Alabama. Under such a plan a woman has only a brief teleconference with the abortionist and places herself in great peril. If she unknowingly has an ectopic pregnancy and it ruptures; if she comes down with a virulent infection; if she starts to hemorrhage – as hundreds of RU-486 patients have – her doctor could be hundreds of miles away. This is not good medicine, it is not good for women, and it is not good for Alabama.”

HB57 also requires that the abortionist have admitting privileges at a local hospital. That way if/when complications arise, he can go with the woman to a nearby hospital.

The law also requires improved standards for the state’s five abortion clinics, a glaring omission in many places, including West Philadelphia where abortionist Kermit Gosnell is on trial for eight counts of murder.

Prior to Gov. Bentley signing HB57, House Speaker Mike Hubbard issued the following statement.

“With passage of this much needed measure, Republicans boldly defended the rights of the unborn and courageously safeguarded the health and safety of Alabama women,” Hubbard said. “Though I am completely opposed to legalized abortion, the U.S. Supreme Court unfortunately allows it to remain the law of the land, but with the passage of this legislation, we are doing everything we can to ensure the procedure is performed in a safe and healthy environment.”

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