University of Alabama’s Top Donor Pushes Boycott Over Abortion Law

By Tracy.Connor@thedailybeast.com (Tracy Connor)
Wesley Hitt/Getty
Wesley Hitt/Getty

The fallout from Alabama’s near-total ban on abortion continues to grow—now pitting the University of Alabama against its biggest donor.

Hugh Culverhouse Jr., an attorney and philanthropist, donated $21.5 million last year to UA, which named its law school after him.

But Culverhouse—the son of the late Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner who shared his name—raised hackles this week when he called on students to boycott enrollment over the new law.

“I cannot stand by silently and allow my name to be associated with a state educational system that teaches students law that clearly conflicts with the United States Constitution and Federal law, and which promotes blatant discrimination,” he said in a statement.

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University of Alabama Chancellor Finis St. John announced Wednesday that he is recommending the board of trustees give back the donation and remove Culverhouse’s name from the school.

But according to the Tuscaloosa News, the school claims the dispute has nothing to do with the abortion law boycott and everything to do with attempts by Culverhouse to micromanage law school operations.

“Donors may not dictate university administration,” UA said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Alabama lawmakers passed legislation that would make it a felony for doctors to perform an abortion in nearly all cases, including instances of rape and incest. Gov. Kay Ivey signed it into law.

The ACLU and Planned Parenthood have already filed a federal lawsuit to block implementation of the law—one of several measures across the nation designed to get the newly conservative U.S. Supreme Court to reassess Roe v. Wade.

But Alabama’s law is stricter than the other measures, many of which are so-called “heartbeat” bills that outlaw abortion after six or eight weeks gestation.

Georgia has enacted one such law, triggering celebrity calls for filming boycotts and leading Netflix and Disney to suggest they might stop shooting shows and movies in the state.

Despite the protests, Louisiana legislators on Wednesday passed their own "heartbeat" bill.

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