When Hartselle Rep. Ed Henry introduced HB-527, (yet another PSA bill) which would allow the Department of Public Health to refuse to renew the license of any “reproductive health clinic” within 2,000 feet of a public school, he really didn't think it through. The bill is poorly written enough that it could apply even to private doctor's offices and hospitals that provide “reproductive health” care.
But it gets worse!
Anybody who's followed the travails of North Alabama's lone clinic that provides abortions knows that this bill is designed to close the Alabama Women's Center in Huntsville. It's across the street from a closed public school that's being refurbished.
But what's obvious to others seemed elusive to the bill's sponsor. When interviewed, Henry tried to play dumb:
House Bill 527, filed Tuesday, says the state health department “may not issue or renew a health center license to an abortion clinic or reproductive health center” within 2,000 feet of a school.
“It’s a very simple bill,” sponsor Ed Henry, R-Hartselle, said Wednesday. He also said he was unaware the bill would shutter any clinics.
“I did not know it would impact closing (a clinic),” he said. “(This bill had) been asked for by several of the pro-life groups around the state.
“To me, the whole atmosphere around abortion clinics is very unsettling, with protesters on both sides, and to me not something we need to have the children of Alabama subjected to. We regulate how close liquor stores can be to schools and churches.”
James Henderson, the former leader of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, said his anti-abortion group drafted the legislation that Henry introduced with the purpose of shutting down the Huntsville clinic.
“What prompted the action is the abortion clinic in downtown Huntsville that was forced to close and then relocated across from a public school,” he said.
“You have the spectacle of an abortion clinic across from a school,” Henderson continued. “We were advised counsel that a good approach was to use the same standard of keeping sex offenders from public schools, which is 2,000 feet. That is what the bill is based on.”
There you go! Supposedly, in Henderson's warped view of the world, a women's health clinic is also some sort of “sex offender community center,” so we need to protect school children from it. Crikey… that's even more bizarre than trying to get the clinic closed because protesters disrupt the neighborhood waving signs and yelling at patients through bullhorns.
So does Rep. Henry open his email and then print off any piece of crap legislation that anyone send him? Or – as in more likely – was he lying when he said that he was “unaware” that the bill would shutter any clinics?
Lying is one of the “Big Ten,” and Henry touts his religious beliefs on a regular basis. Maybe Henry needs to remove the log that Henderson inserted in his eye before going after imagined “sex offenders” at abortion clinics.