Another Alabama city is on the verge of becoming abortion free. The Alabama Women’s Center located at 612 Madison Street in Huntsville, Alabama is scrambling to remain open. On May 19, 2014, Dalton Johnson, the abortion clinic’s administrator, filed for a change in license with the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) to move the Alabama Women’s Center from its current location on Madison Street in Huntsville, AL to a new location on Sparkman Drive in Huntsville, AL.
The move has sparked controversy in recent weeks for numerous reasons. First, the new location is right down the street from an elementary school and a middle school. Secondly, the new location is zoned for residential use only. The property did receive a zoning variance in 1998 to allow an outpatient medical clinic operated by the Huntsville Hospital board. It is highly questionable whether or not the 1998 variance is sufficient to permit the operation of an abortion clinic, which is classified as an ambulatory surgical center under Alabama law.
This is not the first controversy the Alabama Women’s Center has been connected with. The clinic’s medical director, abortionist Ramon Lopez, has been serving weekend jail time for the past six months related to his previous criminal convictions. Abortionist Yashica Robinson-White, who also performs abortions at the 612 Madison clinic, was recently indicted on Medicaid fraud and selling birth control devices made in another country. Robinson-White tried to evade detection by closing her Opelika medical clinic and moving to the Sparkman Drive facility in 2013.
Now feeling the heat, Robinson-White is in collaboration with Alabama Women’s Center administrator, Dalton Johnson, to capitalize on profits before her medical license is revoked. The Women’s Health and Safety Act regulations take effect July 1, 2014 requiring wider doorways and overhead sprinkler systems among other things. It is no secret that the Madison Street facility, where the Alabama Women’s Center currently operates, does not meet the new regulations. Johnson recently purchased the Sparkman Drive facility in April for $530,000. Though Johnson has publicly rebuffed suggestions that his abortion clinic is moving to the Sparkman Drive location, immediately after purchasing the building, Johnson filed a change of location license application with the ADPH claiming that he plans to move the Alabama Women’s Center to the Sparkman Drive facility.
The move has not received the final approval from the ADPH. The ADPH must conduct an inspection of the new facility to ensure it complies with all pertinent laws. Additionally, the department’s Medicaid division must also conduct an inspection. Passing inspection will be no small feat for the Alabama Women’s Center. The ADPH filed a deficiency report against the abortion clinic in January 2013 claiming 1) improper calibration of the Ultrasound machine, 2) failure to dispose of expired medication, 3) failure to ensure patients are offered the opportunity to view her ultrasound, and 4) failure to clean and sterilize medical equipment between patients. The clinic has yet to prove that it has corrected any of the problems.
Life Legal Defense Foundation attorneys are working with local pro-life activists to obtain public records relating to the anticipated move, bringing it to the attention of the school board and the zoning commission. LLDF will continue to expose the sidestepping efforts of those in the abortion industry who persistently skirt the law.
Despite these efforts, it appears as though Robinson-White may be performing abortions at the Sparkman Drive facility even though she does not have a license to operate an abortion center. Abortion escorts have been seen in the parking lot of the Sparkman Drive facility. This is no surprise. Bruce Norman tried to operate an illegal abortion clinic without a license after the ADPH shut down the New Woman All Women abortion clinic in Birmingham. LLDF fought to expose Norman and was instrumental in closing his office down completely. We will take the same steps to expose Robinson-White as well. Operating a back alley abortion clinic without ADPH governance or oversight threatens the lives of Alabama’s women.
Regardless, one thing is clear; the Madison Street clinic will shut down on July 1 unless drastic changes are made quickly. With no other abortion clinics in the city of Huntsville, that would make one more city in Alabama abortion free. The fight to save lives will continue, but in the mean time we will rejoice over small victories along the way.