- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - An Alabama House committee has passed a bill to keep abortion clinics at least 2,000 feet away from public schools, which would impact at least one existing facility in the state.

Republican Sen. Paul Sanford’s bill, which passed the Senate in March, will now go to the House for a vote.

Sanford last week said he wants to protect schoolchildren from the “chaos” of protesters outside abortion clinics. The bill would prohibit the Department of Public Health from issuing or renewing licenses for clinics within 2,000 feet of any K-8 public school.

The bill would appear to affect an existing Huntsville facility. The clinic was forced to move to its current location to comply with a 2013 law which placed new facility restrictions on abortion providers.

Sanford previously said he was amenable to an amendment to grandfather the Huntsville clinic in, but the Health committee on Wednesday tabled an amendment which would do so.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama vowed to challenge the law in court if it makes it through the House.

“We all agree that protecting our children is a top priority. But this law isn’t about protecting Alabama’s children. It’s about making a sure a woman who has decided to have an abortion can’t get one,” said Susan Watson, Executive Director of the ACLU of Alabama.

Sanford’s bill is one of three abortion-related bills to make it through committee this legislative session. On Wednesday, the Health Committee gave favorable report to a bill which would ban a commonly used second-trimester abortion procedure.

The committee last week approved a proposed constitutional amendment to legally define a fetus as a person from the moment of fertilization, which would effectively ban abortion in the state.

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