Planned Parenthood has broken ground on a new state-of-the-art woman's clinic in Alabama despite a looming near-total ban on abortions.
"This is a preservation of care that folks in Birmingham have been counting on for generations," said Barbara Ann Luttrell, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood. "We are committed to providing that care despite any of the legislative sessions."
Construction of the facility began in January, with no expectation of slowing in light of the passage in May of the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, under which providers could face up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion.
It's among several state efforts that aim to restrict access to the procedure with an eye toward pushing the US Supreme Court to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling that affirmed a woman's right to an abortion.
The downtown Birmingham clinic will offer "a full range of reproductive health care services, including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, breast health services, Pap tests and abortion services," Luttrell said.
The 10,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed in the fall, around the time the state's abortion law is due to take effect in November. The controversial measure, signed by Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, includes an exception if the mother's life is at "serious" risk but not in cases of rape and incest.
"To the bill's many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamian's deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God," Ivey said in a statement.
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union are among organizations suing to stop the law from going into effect. Ivey has acknowledged that Roe v. Wade may make the law unenforceable.
Providers at the only three clinics in Alabama that offer abortion services have gone out of their way in the past month to make sure patients to know their doors are still open.