The ACLU is taking the abortion industry’s side once again and fighting two new Alabama laws that protect children from abortions.
The American Civil Liberties Union is representing state abortion clinic owners in the new lawsuit filed Thursday against the abortion-related laws, the Associated Press reports. Both laws are scheduled to go into effect Aug. 1.
One of the laws, signed by Gov. Robert Bentley in May, bans abortion facilities from building within 2,000 feet of public elementary or middle schools and prohibits the state health department from issuing or renewing a health center license to current abortion clinics within the same distance of the schools. Two abortion facilities could close as a result.
The second law, also passed in May, bans brutal dismemberment abortions that rip unborn babies limb from limb. Dismemberment abortion, performed on a fully-formed, living unborn baby, is a barbaric and dangerous procedure in which the unborn child is literally ripped apart in the womb and pulled out in pieces. It also is referred to as D&E, or dilation and evacuation.
The ACLU argued in the lawsuit that the laws would restrict women’s access to abortion by closing abortion clinics and “severely curtailing” second-trimester abortions in Alabama, according to the AP. Its lawyers also argued that dismemberment abortions are safe, common second-trimester procedures that women should have access to.
Susan Watson, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, accused pro-life lawmakers of attacking women through the new laws.
“It’s long past time for our elected officials to stop interfering with a woman’s personal decisions and to start dealing with the very real problems in our state,” Watson said.
State Rep. Ed Henry, R-Decatur, defended the school-related law, saying it will protect young children from what goes on in and around abortion clinics.
“We do zoning laws for all types of business. The atmosphere around clinics that perform daily abortions are volatile and very graphic and should not be in proximity to our children in K-8,” Henry said.
The lawsuit was expected. Alabama abortion clinic owners and the ACLU both threatened to challenge the laws before they passed.
The school-related legislation could close abortion facilities in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa or at least force them to move. The two facilities do almost three quarters of all abortions in Alabama, according to state statistics.
The Huntsville abortion clinic opened across the street from a middle school several years ago. According to the Times Daily, the facility administrator, Dalton Johnson, said they moved to that location after being forced out of a building in downtown Huntsville due to the 2013 Women’s Health and Safety Act. That legislation was initiated after there were multiple botched abortions in Alabama.