Alabama Law That Could Close Abortion Clinics Faces ACLU Lawsuit

State   Steven Ertelt   Jun 12, 2013   |   5:29PM    Washington, DC

The ACLU and the Planned Parenthood abortion business have filed suit over a law that could close abortion clinics that fail to follow the same health and safety standards expected of legitimate medical centers.

After multiple botched abortions in the state of Alabama that inured women over the last couple of years, state legislators responded by approving a bill that would require abortion clinics to meet more stringent requirements. But pro-abortion lawmakers said they worried abortion clinics that couldn’t comply would be forced to close.

The House passed it 68-21; the Senate voted earlier in favor, 20-10 and Republican Gov. Robert Bentley has signed the Women’s Health and Safety Act into law.

“As a physician, and as a governor, I am proud to sign this legislation,” Bentley said in a statement. “This bill provides appropriate standards of care. It has been endorsed by pro-life groups across Alabama.”

“The Women’s Health and Safety Act is a measure that will improve and strengthen the standards of care at women’s clinics in Alabama,” he added.

Now, two of the biggest pro-abortion groups are filing suit:

Attorneys for Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming that new laws in Alabama wrongfully infringe upon a woman’s right to abortion.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed new abortion restrictions into law in April, mandating that all doctors who perform the procedure in clinics also maintain staff privileges at hospitals.

Attorneys filing the suit argue that the law will lead to the closure of three of the five health clinics in the state that provide abortions, Reuters reported. Many doctors who perform abortions in the state are unable to obtain the staff privileges because the hospitals object to the procedure or because they live too far from the hospital, lawsuit paperwork stated.

“We are in court to protect a woman’s ability to make her own personal, private, health-care decisions,” said Staci Fox, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood Southeast, in the Reuters report.

The law is set to take effect July 1.

Alabama is the seventh state to require hospital admitting privileges for abortion practitioners and a similar law in Mississippi may result in the closing of the only abortion clinic in the state where, which is having problems getting a hospital to take patients it injures in abortions.

Under the new law, the state’s four licensed abortion clinics will have 180 days to meet the new standards once the law takes effect on July 1. However, the Planned Parenthood abortion business appears ready to take the law to court in order to avoid better protecting women’s health.

Nikema Williams, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood Southeast, told AP it “stands ready to do whatever it takes to protect Alabamians’ health and rights in the face of this dangerous law and blatant attack on women’s health and rights.”

Local pro-life leaders were pleased the governor signed the bill — and its provisions to stop webcam abortions by making abortion practitioners actually meet with a woman getting a drug-induced abortion instead of leaving them to deal with staffers.

“Having the physician physically present and performing an examination on the mother prior to an abortion are the factors that are known to reduce complications from abortion,” said Cheryl Ciamarra Legislative Director for Alabama Citizens for life, who led a coalition of over 60 organizations to pass this provision this year. “There is no question the majority of Alabama citizens agree that women should receive examinations by physicians prior to abortions.”

Under the bill, abortion clinics may only employ doctors who are legally allowed to send patients to hospitals that are located in the same city as the clinic. And abortion clinics must have wider halls and doors, as well as improved firefighting sprinkler and suppression systems. The bill also requires clinic officials to tell patients exactly what medications they are given.

As LifeNews reported last year, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Birmingham, Alabama faces a lawsuit for negligence for a botched abortion that left a woman unable to have children.

Roberta Clark walked into the Birmingham Planned Parenthood on August 20, 2010, for what she thought would be a routine first-trimester abortion. An ultrasound exam was conducted by an unlicensed, untrained worker indicated Clark was 8 weeks, 4 days pregnant with an intrauterine pregnancy, even though she was later to be found not pregnant at all.

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California-based abortion practitioner Aqua Don Emmanuel Umoren, who contracts to do abortions for Planned Parenthood in Birmingham and for another abortion clinic in Huntsville, was on duty at the time. He reportedly conducted a pelvic exam that he said concurred with the 8 week, 4 day diagnosis.

Clark was given a suction abortion, after which she continued to complain of nausea, vomiting, and pelvic pain. The pathology report that indicated no fetal parts were identified in the tissue specimen that had been submitted for inspection that same day. Clark was not informed of this nor is there a record of her receiving any follow-up care from Umoren or Planned Parenthood.

Twenty-five days later, Clark was in a Birmingham hospital E.R. undergoing emergency surgery to save her life. Doctors removed her ruptured fallopian tube containing a 13-week fetus and placenta.

Another abortion clinic was closed after botched abortions and women were injured at the New Women All Women abortion clinic in South Birmingham.