A Republican state representative in Alabama says that her bill to force new restrictions on abortion clinics is necessary because the fetus is "the largest organ in a body."
In a recent interview, state Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin explained why she was sponsoring House Bill 57 -- The Women's Health and Safety Act -- which would "require clinics to follow ambulatory clinic building codes and make it a felony — punishable by up to 10 years in prison — for a nurse, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant to dispense abortion-inducing medications," according to the Montgomery Advertiser.
"When a physician removes a child from a woman, that is the largest organ in a body," the lawmaker declared. "That’s a big thing. That’s a big surgery. You don’t have any other organs in your body that are bigger than that."
"My liver, heart, and skin are all very excited that we are now giving organs personhood rights, although the latter is slightly upset about losing out on its 'largest organ in the human body' rep," Jezebel's Katie J.M. Baker wrote on Monday.
Critics have claimed that House Bill 57 is so restrictive that it would force many abortion clinics to close. The ambulatory clinic building codes mean that some clinics would have to spend millions on renovations. And banning out-of-state doctors would making staffing a challenge.
"Instead of outlawing abortions, they’re just going to make it to the point where a clinic cannot operate in the state," pro-choice activist Sharon McClendon-Price told WHNT. "That's their goal."
Earlier this month, McClurkin's bill was approved by the state House Health Committee, which made it eligible for a floor vote starting on Feb. 12. A similar bill died last year after protests from from women's rights activists.
Opponents of the bill complained that they were only given 60 seconds each to speak against a bill during the Health Committee hearing earlier this month, while supporters were given up to four minutes each.
"It was disheartening," activist Milly Breeden recalled to Al.com. "They might have learned something, but they didn't even give that chance to us. I just feel so violated at the way we were treated."
Last year, a federal judge temporarily delayed enforcement of Mississippi bill that required abortion clinics to get "admission privileges" from local hospitals. The state's last abortion clinic could be shut down within a month if a lawsuit to permanently block the law fails.
"My goal of course is to shut it down," Republican Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant told a group of pastors last month.
Watch this video from WHNT, broadcast Feb. 7, 2013.