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Council members in Rossville unanimously passed two ordinances Monday night -- one to forbid abortion clinics within Rossville city limits, and one to help keep "pill mills" out of the city.
In a work meeting before they would sign the ordinances, council members asked Rossville Mayor Teddy Harris what had prompted these two ordinances to come up. He said a town resident had come to him asking if the methadone clinic in the city was legal. That clinic is, but Harris said the question got him thinking about other businesses they might wish to keep outside of Rossville.
He said they wish to keep abortion clinics out because they could bring "drama" to the city.
"We want to be a peaceful city," Harris said. "We don't want to have any protesters."
There is no abortion clinic in Rossville, and the ordinance does allow for abortions to occur within the city if they occur at a hospital by a licensed physician, are deemed by that doctor to be necessary to save the woman's life, and the doctor can certify that the baby would not survive out of the womb.
As of 2011, there were 19 abortion clinics in the entire state of Georgia. Ninety-six percent of counties -- including Walker County, where Rossville is located -- do not have a clinic.
"I just don't think (clinics) are appropriate for our city, " Harris said.
The same logic was used for why they want to keep pill mills out of the city. Pill mills are clinics that claim to be pain centers many times, but in reality illegally dispense controlled pain medications to those who may be addicted or do not have a prescription.
"We don't want one for the drama," he said during the meeting. "Law enforcement (here) can't handle it."
One audience member at the meeting asked if the pill mills regulation would prevent legitimate pain clinics from operating or dispensing medication. Harris said they would not.
"This is just a tool for our law enforcement," he said.
Pill mills are already illegal under Georgia and federal law and would be shut down by officers if found out, but he said, "This is another tool to make sure we can."
Contact staff writer Hannah Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6731.