Alabama Judge Blocks Pro-Life Law That Would Have Closed Abortion Clinic in Tuscaloosa

State   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Aug 17, 2015   |   6:22PM   |   Montgomery, AL

In Alabama, a federal judge has blocked an abortion regulations law that could have closed the state’s most popular abortion facility— the West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa (WAWC). Currently, WAWC performs about 40 percent of the state’s abortions and it is one of only two facilities that perform second trimester abortions.

The legislation passed in 2007 and requires abortionists to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital or contract with a doctor who can handle abortion complications properly. However, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Alabama filed a federal lawsuit against the law because they believed it caused undue burden for women seeking abortions.

Additionally, Thompson struck down part of the 2013 Alabama Women’s Health and Safety Act, a law passed by lawmakers that would have required all abortionists to have hospital admitting privileges. ABC News reports that the judge who issued the temporary restraining order, U.S. District Myron Thompson, said the closure would prevent women from obtaining abortions.

In his 81-page opinion, Judge Thompson wrote, “For all Alabama women, the closure of the largest abortion provider in the state, one of two providers in the state that administers abortions after 16 weeks, has reduced the number of abortions that can be provided here. Finally, and as chillingly recounted above, closing the Center has increased the risk that women will take their abortion into their own hands.”

Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, staff attorney in the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project said the following about the judge’s restraining order: “The decision recognizes this regulation is completely unnecessary and that closing one of the last remaining abortion clinics in the state would have prevented women from receiving essential and high quality care.” Apparently the abortion facility complied with the pro-life law for years but was unable to meet the requirement after their primary abortionist retired.

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As LifeNews previously reported, admitting privileges legislation is critical because it acknowledges that abortion hurts women and mandates that the state implements measures to ensure that women are given the highest standard of care possible. This is especially necessary in scenarios where women experience complications from abortion, such as hemorrhage, uterine perforation, or infection from an incomplete abortion. In the past, the delay in care has caused women unnecessary trauma, injury, and even death.

Unfortunately, abortion facilities in Alabama are known for failing to meet basic safety standards. For example, in 2013, an inspection by the Alabama Department of Health found that the WAWC did not follow even simple safety protocols such as hand washing. Then a survey of one of Alabama’s other abortion clinics found unsanitary conditions, expired drugs, and an uncalibrated ultrasound machine, according to Operation Rescue.