As was completely expected, new GOP majorities are setting out to make 2015 another record-setting year for attacks on abortion access: Tennessee’s Republican legislative majority is acting quickly to exploit a referendum that repealed state protections for reproductive freedom, and Ohio Republicans have the most aggressive new anti-abortion law in the country. But there’s a battle brewing in Alabama that should be on the radar of every reproductive rights advocate, because it draws the fundamental hypocrisies of the forced-birth movement into sharp contrast.

James Henderson (above), the executive director of the Alabama Christian Coalition, says he is urging Republican legislators to require a 2,000-foot ‘buffer zone’ between abortion clinics and schools. This distance is deliberately the same as the lawful distance between schools and sex offenders:

Henderson said the school buffer zone effort has been encouraged by Gov. Robert Bentley’s Chief Legal Advisor David Byrne Jr. Henderson suggested the measure could be applied retroactively, though it is unclear how that would work under U.S. law.

The governor’s office responded to questions about Byrne’s role by providing a copy of a letter Byrne sent Thursday to Henderson, who is a member of the Alabama Republican Party’s executive committee.

Byrne’s letter acknowledges he told Henderson in June that he would be “happy to assist” any legislators Henderson’s group is “closely associated with” in pre-filing legislation for the 2015 session and he would help recruit potential sponsors. But the letter also notes the Governor’s Legal Office can’t do legal work for a private entity.

A spokeswoman for Bentley said Friday they haven’t seen any proposed bill dealing with abortion clinics near schools, so it would be premature to comment on whether the governor would support such a measure.

Mr. Henderson is still reeling from a series of losses related to the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives (AWCRA) in Huntsville, Alabama. His friend Chris Horn, who made his opposition to the AWCRA a centerpiece of his state house campaign, lost badly on November 4th. Although the center’s original location closed due to a TRAP (Targeted Regulation against Abortion Providers) law, it has now reopened in a new location that meets those TRAP requirements.

Henderson hates this new building because the entire parking lot is private property. This prevents Henderson’s forced-birth commandos from doing the kind of ‘sidewalk counseling’ that the Supreme Court sanctioned this year when it eliminated the 35-foot buffer zone that the state of Massachusetts had enacted around facilities providing abortion services.

In other words, Henderson’s push for a retroactive, sexual predator-sized buffer zone against the AWCRA is a blatant hypocrisy of double standards.

Contrary to the rosy picture of forced-birth advocacy which impressed the court this term, most actual ‘sidewalk counseling’ by forced-birth activists turns out to be vile and stupid nonsense that does nothing for women, and features behavior that is sometimes abusive and even downright creepy. Henderson, who has directed such tactics for years in Huntsville, can’t take advantage of the SCOTUS decision to get between women and the front doors of the center anymore — not without being arrested for trespassing.

The new location for AWCRA is just down the street from a school building. Currently closed, Ed White Middle School is due to reopen in a new role next year, and in the meantime Henderson’s forced-birth activists are making free use of it as a wedge against the clinic. Ironically, the same people who drag children to their protests as props now claim that school students will be harmed by the presence of the clinic, which doesn’t exactly wave a sign saying “ABORTIONS” at anyone. Henderson’s folks are the ones who do that.

This ‘buffer zone’ hypocrisy has already spilled into the school parking lot. When the city got tired of forced-birth activists treating it as their rally point, workers blocked off the lot with a plastic orange net. But as you can see in the animated .GIF below, which I made with pictures taken by a clinic volunteer this past Saturday, they don’t let pesky things like traffic control devices get in the way of their weird hobby.

Up next: forced birth activists will demand free parking in SCOTUS
“Surely no one meant to keep us from using this parking lot for our protest! Let’s just move this out of our way like we’re special people to whom the laws don’t apply.”

Henderson used the school as a pretext for his failed challenge to the zoning board’s approval of the AWCRA’s variance, and this same justification is now apparently on its way to becoming bad law in Montgomery. This being Alabama, Henderson is almost certain to get what he wants, even though it is obviously, flagrantly hypocritical, and that potentially sets up a very interesting legal challenge.

27 thoughts on “The Most Interesting Abortion Fight In America”
  1. Witnessing Henderson ride the downhill Slalom of Desperation makes me want to, A: Vomit & B: Make some popcorn and observe the slow motion train wreck. What will he do next? I would feel sorry for him if he weren’t the embodiment of all that is reprobate and vile.

      1. I said “kind of” you know. Anti gunners want to strip away a right. Killing your offspring is not a right, but it they want to stop you from doing it all the same. But then again, to say anti gunners don’t resort to these tactics is not totally true, they want to enter your house and remove them. They want to post lists of who owns them and actually have in at least one case. I have yet to see a list of women who have killed their offspring published in a paper.

          1. You are a bad word too, you may want to check out the 2nd amendment. Go ahead and kill your offspring, I don’t care, but leave my guns alone okay.

          2. Ratcraft, honey, I keep hearing this “they’re coming to take away my guns!”. For YEARS I have been hearing this nonsense.
            I have a Beretta by my bedside…the only ones I’m in fear of are the weirdo gun nutters, not the government.

          3. I never said anyone was coming to take my guns away. To say there are not anti gunners that don’t is a lie. Bernie Sanders and Diane Feinstein just to name 2. I would never stop you from killing your offspring. Go ahead.

          4. Rat, honey, you’re just a typical ignorant person about how reproduction works (up to 80% of embryos simply fail to imbed and go Whoosh!, into the toilet)—and you must be a male, who hasn’t a clue how important a woman’s bodily autonomy is for her health.

            The American Medical Association, the American Medical Women’s Association, and American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) state that abortion is a basic part of reproductive health care for women.

            “Given the relentless legislative assault on the patient-physician relationship that we’ve seen in the past few years—and unfortunately continue to see—we were compelled to issue a formal Statement of
            Policy,” said ACOG President Jeanne A. Conry, MD, PhD. “A disproportionate number of these types of laws are aimed at women’s reproductive rights and the physicians that provide women’s health care services…Many of these laws are dangerous to patients’ health and safety. As physicians, we are obligated to offer the best evidence-based care to our patients. Government should stay out of imposing its political agenda on medical practice….Legislators should not needlessly interfere in the patient-physician relationship or the practice of medicine. ACOG, as an organization, joins other women’s health advocates in
            supporting the legal right of women to obtain an abortion and opposing laws that are dangerous, unscientific, and criminalize medical care.”

          5. What is your point, mine was anti gunners are as retarded as anti abortion folk. Why are you going on about all this other stuff. Kill your offspring. I don’t care. I am simply pointing out there are some anti gun dolts just as over the top about banning them. Nothing more. But since you did type “the relentless legislative assault on the patient-physician relationship that we’ve seen in the past few years” I take it you despise Obamacare?

          6. have you EVER seen any “legislation” that would deny law abiding citizens that right? if so could you please post it because I have been looking for yrs for ””Legislation””” to that effect.
            However there is record numbers in record republican states legislating against a citizens PRIVATE liberties of choice in their lives, family and reproduction but somehow you “all about ME” extremist one issue cowboys cant seem to focus on constitution and legislation and instead deal in “private opinion” you trespass on public .

          7. Is that what this story was about? Is that what my comment was about? No. I said the anti abortion nuts are as bad as the anti gun folks. Did you miss that? It is legal, it is law. So are guns and they are protected as a right, yet anti gunners still want to enter my home and remove them. Have an abortion a week, I don’t care.

          8. No one said a thing about guns, so take your gun argument to an appropriate forum. I’m a “bad word”? What, do you light your flatulence to crack your homies up? Why don’t you drink your very berry juice box and take a nap.

          9. I don’t have an argument. I had a statement. I don’t get the rest of your rant, makes no sense to me. Don’t be mad at me you killed your own offspring sheesh.

      2. However, when the media outlets post the names and addresses of lawful concealed carry permit holders . . . thing aren’t that far off.

          1. Those who receive marching orders sometimes can’t comprehend that some people can form opinions without a TV station filling their brains.

          2. or obviously any other “legal/legislative FACTS “filling their brains.” either. so your a talk radio and rw NRA extremist blog post follower that still doesnt say much for your authentic constitutional knowledge or information

          3. You just proved it again. Now I get my orders from talk radio and the NRA. I am here aren’t I? I read views that differ from my own. While I don’t comment on most stories I do read most. I don’t comment on media maters anymore though. Cast a dissenting view there and the knives come out. No banter, no discussion, just name calling and saying I work for Rush. So go on with your bad self and continue to think there are no free thinkers left.

      3. I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I do think that these workers following these girls up and down the street is crazy. I do understand what Ratcraft is saying though. Some anti-abortion people are just like anti-gun.people.

  2. So sad TEA-Republicans crowned themselves this midterms. It is going to take hard work to reverse their schenanigans!

  3. I’m so tired of the hypocrisy of most of the ‘pro-life’ movement. If you truly think it’s murder and these unwanted babies should be born, then where is the help to support and raise these children?

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