By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Monday, attorneys for Planned Parenthood Southeast and Reproductive Health Services filed a motion in federal court asking Judge Myron Thompson to rule a law that increased the regulatory standards on abortion clinics to that of an outpatient surgical center (HB 57: the Women’s Health and Safety Act) unconstitutional without a trial.
Alabama Planned Parenthood said in a written statement,
“At issue is a law requiring physicians who provide abortion safely today to obtain hospital staff privileges, a requirement that many of them cannot meet for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of care they provide their patients. This law is currently blocked with a temporary restraining order until at least March 24, 2014. If the law were to take effect, the restrictions would force three-fifths of the licensed health centers that provide abortion to Alabama women to stop providing abortions immediately.”
A hearing on this matter is anticipated in February 2014. Planned Parenthood Southeast is represented in this case by the Montgomery firm Sabel and Sabel, and attorneys from Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Civil Liberties Union.
The President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, Staci Fox said,
“This is the next step in our legal case to protect Alabama women’s ability to make their own personal, private health care decisions. Women and families in Alabama want doctors — not politicians — to help them make health care decisions, especially ones as deeply personal and often complex as whether to have an abortion.”
HB 57 was sponsored in the House by Alabama State Representative Mary Sue McClurkin (R) from Indian Springs. Rep. McClurkin said in a written statement,
“Though I am a committed opponent of legalized abortion, the U.S. Supreme Court has sadly allowed it to remain the law of the land, so we must do everything possible to ensure the procedure is performed in a safe and healthy environment that is also prepared for emergencies that may arise. As I have noted several times before, Alabama has more health regulations in place to protect your cat or dog at a vet clinic than it does for a woman receiving an abortion, and that shameful disparity will change with passage of this bill.”
Fox said, “Regardless of the outcome on this particular step in the case, the harm this law would cause women is clear and therefore we remain confident that this law is unconstitutional and ultimately will be blocked.”
In granting a temporary restraining order blocking this law from taking effect July 1, Judge Thompson wrote that the law would “impose a substantial obstacle to a woman’s right to choose abortion” and that in the long run, “the evidence [about the effect of the law] raises the specter of an Alabama in which women are unable to exercise this due-process right at all.”
Abortion rights groups claim that abortion is a right protected by the U.S. Constitution. Opponents of abortion on demand argue that life begins at conceptions and killing a child in its mother’s womb is murder and a violation of the child’s innate right to live.