Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) signed a new law Tuesday that tightens regulations on abortion clinics, forcing them to adjust to new requirements or shut down, Reuters reported. Proponents of the law say it is an issue of women's safety while women's health advocates argue it is a back-handed attempt to shutter clinics in the state.
"As a physician, and as a governor, I am proud to sign this legislation," Bentley said in a statement. "This bill provides appropriate standards of care. It has been endorsed by pro-life groups across Alabama."
The new law requires doctors performing abortions to have hospital admitting privileges. It also requires the clinics to meet the same facility standards as ambulatory care centers, which would force clinics to remodel. Similar laws have passed recently in states like Mississippi and North Dakota.
In Alabama, the state's four licensed abortion clinics will have 180 days to meet the new standards after the law takes effect on July 1. The measure also mandates the clinics to meet the same facility standards as ambulatory care centers.
As with the law in Mississippi, legal challenges are expected from advocacy groups such as Planned Parenthood.
Nikema Williams, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood Southeast, said it "stands ready to do whatever it takes to protect Alabamians' health and rights in the face of this dangerous law and blatant attack on women's health and rights."