Alabama pro-life supporters await ruling on North Alabama abortion clinic

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez |

Alabama Women's Center for Reproductive Alternatives left its old facilities pictured here for renovated offices of a former hospital clinic located just across the street from the former Ed White Middle School, which is being remodeled to house the Academy for Academics & Arts magnet school.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Christian Examiner) -- Four days after the Oct. 30, two-hour court hearing that will determine the future of Northern Alabama's only abortion clinic, pro-life supporters are still waiting.

In September, James Henderson, Executive Director of the Christian Coalition of Alabama and 18 other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the Huntsville Board of Zoning Adjustment. The group's lawsuit requested a preliminary injunction to stop the clinic from operating while the case goes through the court system.

The clinic is almost directly across the former Ed White Middle School, which is being remodeled to house the Academy for Academics & Arts magnet school.

According to AL.com, the lawsuit argues that a variance granted on the building was exclusively intended for the outpatient facility under the management of Huntsville Hospital, which closed in 2013. The plaintiffs also claim the zoning board's decision violates state and local laws on clinics operating in residential areas.

The Alabama Women's Center for Reproductive Alternatives relocated their clinic to the former outpatient facility earlier this year when clinic owner Dalton Johnson purchased it from Huntsville Hospital.

The zoning board approved a building permit for the abortion clinic in that location, determining that a variance for a former medical facility in the building should carry over to another clinic in the same building.

Clinic officials claim they moved in order to comply with new legislation because they could not meet the standards of the Alabama Women's Health and Safety Act of 2013 in their previous location. Among other tough building standards, the act required that doors and hallways be wide enough to fit ambulance gurneys.

Madison County Circuit Judge Alan Mann is expected to issue a ruling on the matter within the week, but there is no timeline for him to do so.