Huntsville zoning board upholds abortion clinic relocation

Published: Aug. 19, 2014 at 10:47 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2014 at 10:47 AM CDT
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Protesters began arriving at the meeting hours in advance. (Source: WAFF)
Protesters began arriving at the meeting hours in advance. (Source: WAFF)
Alabama Women's Wellness Center (Source: WAFF)
Alabama Women's Wellness Center (Source: WAFF)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Pro-life supporters who asked the Huntsville zoning adjustment board to rethink their approval of an abortion clinic's relocation were given their answer Tuesday - "No."

In a 3-2 vote, the board voted to deny the appeal, which contested the approval of a building permit for the clinic.

The city ruled that the new building that the Alabama Women's Center purchased in the 4800 block of Sparkman Drive complies with local zoning laws. The location is in proximity to Ed White Middle School.

Protesters had gathered in front of Huntsville City Hall hours ahead of the Tuesday evening meeting. Approximately six police officers were stationed to observe the crowd.

Those in the crowd said the clinic shouldn't be allowed to open near schools. They also said the clinic is targeting minority women.

The Reverend James Henderson was among those to speak at the meeting. He was asked several times to stay "on topic" during his time at the podium, however he did make his point clear. He said while the new location at Sparkman Drive is zoned for a medical clinic, a facility that performs abortions is not included in that definition.

Pro-choice advocate Jayme Calhoun and others argued the proposed clinic is no different than other medical facilities in the area, such as chiropractors and dentists' offices. She said many of them also perform outpatient procedures, but lack the same scrutiny.

Rev. Henderson vowed that his group's fight is not over.

"We will continue to appeal," he told the board. "We will take this to circuit court."

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