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Is another Alabama abortion clinic operating without a license? Pro-life leaders call for investigation

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Selma, AL is famous for its connection to the civil rights marches in 1965, but now it may be infamous for being the latest city in the Heart of Dixie to illegally operate an abortion clinic. A press conference  at 10:30 Wednesday morning, led by a host of pro-life leaders, will call for an investigation into the Central Alabama Women’s Clinic which, they say, is operating without a legal license.

The abortion facility is located at 1013 Medical Center Pkwy in Selma, and the press conference will be held across the street. Leaders say they have tried for nearly a year to ask for an investigation of the facility, and they have received no response, so they are calling media attention to it.

The facility, they say, meets the legal definition of an abortion clinic which requires private abortion practices to be licensed by the state if they perform more than nine abortions per month.

Now the pro-life leaders will now publicly appeal to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) to address the illegality of operation of Central Alabama’s Women’s Clinic by conducting an immediate investigation, which the Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) has been calling for since 2014.

In July Allison Aranda, Senior Staff Counsel with LLDF, sent a letter to Tom Geary, Jr., M.D. at the ADPH, providing “overwhelming evidence of this facility’s illegal practices” and calling for the investigation. In part, the letter said:

“As you are aware, under Alabama law a license is required if a doctor performs 10 or more abortions in any month. In the past three weeks, various individuals have called the Central Alabama Women’s Clinic seeking an abortion. During these calls, a woman answered the phone and confirmed that the individuals could obtain an abortion at the clinic. More than 10 appointments for abortion were scheduled between July 1, 2014 and July 22, 2014.
“The evidence obtained during the past couple of weeks strongly suggests that Dr. Lett is operating an illegal abortion clinic in Selma. We have provided you with an audio recording of a call to the Central Alabama Women’s Clinic during which an appointment for an abortion was made. My client is willing to sign a declaration to verify its authenticity.”
The only response LLDF received was a non-response. CEC for Life notes, “LLDF has also recently provided the same evidence to the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners.  However, the only reaction after months of probing the ADPH is a resounding, ‘No comment.’”
“We have given the ADPH ample time to confirm our evidence and shut down another illegal abortion clinic.  Yet, eight months have passed and it is still unclear if the ADPH has even begun an investigation into this facility’s unlawful activities.”
Indeed, this isn’t new for the state of Alabama who also allowed a Birmingham clinic to operate illegally for some time before it finally closed. As Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman reminded people,
“It is imperative to note that this is the second illegal clinic our organizations have uncovered in Alabama within the last three years.  With such a slow reaction from state agencies in both cases, we cannot help but express overwhelming concern that these two clinics are just the tip of a very ugly iceberg.”
And pro-life leaders say enough is enough.
CEC Director Rev. Terry Gensemer, who is a resident of Alabama, said:
“Agencies like the ADPH are put in place to ensure the highest standard of safety for every patient.  Months of inaction on a case like this imply targeted apathy towards the lives of Alabama women, while also bringing into question the intentions of the Department of Public Health – is this women’s clinic, whose main clientele is low-income minorities, somehow exempt from state laws and regulations?”
Another pro-life leader, Catherine Davis, from the National Black Pro-Life Coalition, added:
“Alabama has joined a number of states in turning a blind eye to violations of the law by abortionists. Women – mostly Black and mostly poor – are being subjected to substandard medical care that has left them physically and psychologically injured, and sometimes dead.  We demand justice for the babies that are being ripped apart, illegally, every day. We demand justice for the women that have suffered botched abortions in this center.”
The organizations leading the press conference and call for investigation include: Charismatic Episcopal Church (CEC) for Life, Life Legal Defense Foundation, Operation Rescue, and the National Black Pro-Life Coalition, but a lengthy list of pro-life organizations, including Live Action, have vocalized their support for this issue.
Following the press conference, the leaders will hold a prayer vigil.
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