Alabama abortion law

The Alabama House Health Committee recently approved a series of abortion restrictions that opponents say would ban most abortions in the state.

The committee approved three separate pieces of legislation, including one bill that would prohibit abortion providers from performing an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Bill sponsor Terri Collins says the end of a person's life is defined by the absence of a heartbeat, so it makes sense that the beginning of life should be defined by the presence of one.

A bill to create a new independent governing board for Alabama's two-year college system has hit a stumbling block in the Senate.

Yesterday, the state Senate delayed a vote on a bill to remove the junior college system from the oversight of the state Board of Education after one senator raised several objections to the current version.

The state school board is fighting the legislation and, in March, they unanimously approved a resolution opposing the measure.

After voters rejected a tax hike proposal last month, the Baldwin County Commission and Baldwin County School Board are looking for more input.

There will be a joint public meeting this evening to begin the process of moving forward from the referendum that would have helped pay for a 10 year, $350 million capital construction project.

Charles Gruber is the chairman of the Baldwin County Commission. He believes the referendum was shot down by voters because the public was not able to voice any concerns about the tax.

The Alabama Legislature has passed a bill to establish charter schools in the state.

The House of Representatives voted 58 to 41 to pass the bill after making a few changes. State senators voted 24 to 11 to adopt those changes. The bill now heads to Governor Bentley, who is expected to sign the measure into law after a legal review.

State Democrats have been especially critical of the bill. Nick Rose is the President of the Tuscaloosa Democratic Party. He outlined the party’s three main complaints with the charter school measure.

The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging a new Alabama law that places additional requirements on a minor seeking an abortion without parental approval.

The ACLU says the Alabama law goes beyond any parental consent law in the nation. It provides that when a girl seeks judicial approval for an abortion without her parents' consent, the court can appoint a guardian for the fetus, and it allows a district attorney to question the girl.

The executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, Susan Watson, says the law aims to shame a young woman into not having an abortion.

Alabama Women's Center

Three of Alabama's five abortion clinics remain open after complying with a new state law that sets stricter building requirements.

The law was passed by the Legislature last year and it goes into effect Tuesday.

The Alabama Department of Public Health says clinics in Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Mobile have worked to comply with the law's requirements for wider halls and doors and improved fire safety measures. A clinic in Huntsville closed Friday because it couldn't meet the requirements. But it is planning to move to a new location and get a new license.

A federal judge has set a May 19 trial date for a lawsuit challenging a new Alabama abortion law.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson will hold a non-jury trial concerning an Alabama law that requires doctors at abortion clinics to have approval to admit patients to nearby hospitals. Three of Alabama's five licensed abortion clinics challenged the law on grounds it would force them to close.

The judge has ruled the trial will focus on one issue: whether the law violates the due process right of women seeking abortion by creating substantial obstacles.