Federal Judge: Alabama’s abortion law unconstitutional

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – A federal judge says an Alabama law restricting abortion doctors is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled Monday that state lawmakers exceeded their authority when they passed a law last year requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges. Thompson issued an order temporarily blocking enforcement of the law.

Thompson’s decision comes days after a federal appeals court blocked a similar law in Mississippi.

Planned Parenthood and others filed a lawsuit over the Alabama law last year.

Supporters of the law say it would make clinics safer. Clinic operators say the law would force the shutdown of all but two of Alabama’s five clinics.

Thompson says the Alabama law would place an undue burden on women.

Governor Robert Bentley issued this statement about the judge’s ruling:

“We are extremely disappointed by today’s ruling.  Abortion is a fundamental assault on the sanctity of innocent human life, and I believe that it should only be done as a last possible effort to save the life of the mother. As a doctor, I firmly believe that medical procedures, including abortions, performed in Alabama should be done in the safest manner possible. This law ensures that if a complication arises there is continuity of treatment between doctor and patient.  This ruling significantly diminishes those important  protections. I will always fight for the rights of the unborn, and support an appeal of today’s decision.”

Click here to download and read the PLanned Parenthood Ruling

Click here to download and read the Planned Parenthood Opinion
Part of the ruling and 107-page opinion that has caught the attention of local activists on either side is a section calling out the practices of Huntsville’s anti-abortion protestors as threatening.

Judge Thompson wrote:

“The court finds that the protests at the Huntsville private practices go beyond the run-of-the-mill political protests prompted by an issue as morally and politically charged as abortion. The protesters in Huntsville were not targeting abortion patients and trying to dissuade them from going through with the procedure. Cf. McCullen v. Coakley, 134 S.Ct. 2518, 2527 (2014) (describing “sidewalk counseling” protests and engagement at abortion clinics). Instead, they were approaching women who sought to carry their pregnancies to term. Rather than attempting to change general public perceptions on the issue of abortions or dissuade women from obtaining abortions, the court must infer that these protesters sought to threaten economic destruction for any doctor who enabled the provision of abortion within the city. They succeeded twice in ending a doctor’s obstetric practice.”

While reproductive rights activists believe the opinion was right on target, anti-abortion activist Reverend James Henderson says the judge`s opinion left him speechless.

“Some of the testimony was just absolutely amazing it painted a picture of all types of hostility and anger and threatening environment,” said Henderson. “[Those are] things that we`re not at all familiar with.”

58 comments

  • Ron

    Once again, our ignorant federal judge has ruled to continue the practice of killing unborn children as a Nation. There are extreme laws against people who destroy turtle eggs, endangered bird species eggs, etc. which means “we” believe life starts with the egg in reptiles, birds and other creatures; yet, we don’t hold that belief with the human race? We do more to protect creatures than we do human life – check out the game laws in most states and compare those criminal statutes/penalties to criminal statutes/penalties against human beings. We are at a shameful place as a Nation.

  • Bri

    Abortions will happen with or without the governments support. I would rather it be legal then have unprepared women have children or try and abort the child themselves, possibly killing themselves. It’s not always about who dies, it’s about who they leave behind who cares for them. Bottom line, nobody will miss an unborn child like a daughter or mother they could lose after a botched abortion. Keeping women safe and alive is more important than banning abortion.

      • CCS

        Negative. If you go back and brush up on some history then you’ll understand that the reason the U.S. has legal birth control and abortion methods is because women were endangering themselves greatly by performing at-home abortions or abortions through otherwise unsafe methods, which often lead to death, massive infection, or serious and lasting injury.

        The fact of the matter is that you cannot legislate morals. If people feel that they need to have an abortion badly enough, then they will do so. It is our duty to allow them access to safe medical care. However, it should not be government funded as Planned Parenthood is.

  • Ashley

    WOW Bri just WOW ….”Bottom line, nobody will miss an unborn child like a daughter or mother they could lose after a botched abortion.”

  • gene

    Bottom line, an unborn child….is a child that hasn’t been born.
    the “Undue Burden placed on women” should be a little more emphasis on not procreating if you don’t want to have a child.

    • Anne

      See? It’s just about putting the woman “in her place.” There’s not consequence for a man reproducing and walking away. All he has to do is sign away his rights and he’s free and clear. At the most he may have to pay some child support, but we all know how effective the state is at pursuing that (as in, not at all.)

  • Anne

    Why is it “wow” to think that the woman’s life matters? Humans aren’t endangered, so there’s no need to protect potential life that the mother doesn’t want to carry. I could never choose an abortion because of my personal beliefs about the life status of my own fetuses, but pre-viability it’s the woman’s body and therefore her choice. Protecting her life by making abortion safe and legal is more important than saving the potential life of another human that you conservatives don’t want to help support with food stamps, welfare, equal pay for the mother, daycare provisions, head start programs or anything else that would add quality to a life you’re all so worried about protecting pre-birth. You don’t care about that child, you just want to condemn the woman to poverty cycles and oppression.

    • Branko Pezdi

      Typical liberal tactics – demonize the opposition and set up a strawman. Not to mention parroting talking points that are simply economic falsehoods. Leaving the issue of abortion aside, your other socioeconomic examples bespeak simple ignorance on your part.

      • Anne

        It’s not demonizing to point out what their guys campaign on. Pro-life almost always means Republican in the US. Republicans vote against all the things that would actually help a child born to a desperate mother. Women don’t generally get abortions when they’re not desperate. It’s not something fun we do as a group on a Saturday outing. I don’t think you actually know what a strawman is, because there certainly wasn’t one in my statement. Point out one falsehood instead of just claiming I’m lying. You guys labeling desperate women exercising their constitutional rights to control their own futures and bodies as murderers is certainly more demonizing rhetoric than me pointing out the hypocrisy of those that want a child born but not fed. You guys are all pro-birth, but don’t give a damn once the baby comes home and needs something. You don’t want the gays to adopt them, you don’t want the government to help feed or educate them, you just want the woman shamed for daring to have sex (even if it wasn’t her choice to do so.) It’s the same stance you have on soldiers. Always pro-war but don’t want to help the veteran when he comes home needing the support you promised before ruining his life.

      • Anne

        I’m not sure where my last comment went so I’ll try again.

        You’re the one labeling a desperate woman exercising her constitutional right to control her body and future as a murderer and I’m the one demonizing? Show me one strawman or falsehood – I don’t think you understand the terms because they are not present in my comment. It’s not ignorance to know that women don’t have abortions for the fun of it. They do it because they are desperate.

        You pro-birthers are all for forcing a woman to endure pregnancy and birth just to shame her but will do nothing to help support that child once it is actually a separate human being. You do the same thing with soldiers: send them off to war and then forget about them as soon as they need something.

        Name one thing you or your representatives have done to help poor single mothers. You cut their food stamps, you cut Head Start programs, you fight their access to decent pay, you end daycare programs, you won’t let the gays adopt them, etc etc etc. You don’t give a crap about the kid or the mother. You only care that women “pay the consequences” of having sex – even if they were raped. It’s all about keeping women down and has nothing to do with caring about life. Sperm is alive – it can move and even smell, yet I don’t see masturbation being outlawed. Pre-viability a fetus is no more alive than the mother wants it to be. Humans aren’t endangered so there’s no moral imperative to protect potential life. I could never personally make that choice, but it’s up to every woman and she shouldn’t have to explain her reasons to you. Not your body, not your choice.

      • Branko Pezdi

        Show us an example, for instance, of a conservative voting against “equal pay for the mother”. I’m simply pointing out the typical tactics of lying that you lowlife libs are so fond of. Go away.

    • Branko Pezdi

      By the way, how many abortions are performed to “protect the life” of the mother? You can state your answer in percentage terms, and usage of decimal places is OK.

      • Anne

        I didn’t say they were done to protect the life of the mother. Some very small minority are, but the point is that abortions don’t stop happening just because they’re illegal. Women have been ending pregnancies since the dawn of humanity. It was just extremely dangerous, and that’s what you want to send us back to.

      • Branko Pezdi

        Again, typical liberal tactics, change or distort the topic. How does this legislation make abortions “illegal”?

      • paul

        BLANKO, it’s called personal choice ( in other words, NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS ) oh and by the way; IT’S THE LAW OF THE LAND! Get over it

      • Say What

        Paul, Blanko does not care about the rule of law. He is also against the Affordable Care Act that has been the law for several years. People like him only care about the laws they like.

    • Branko Pezdi

      So you say that abortions are “extremely dangerous” but you object to the State tightening qualification requirements for abortion doctors. You contradict yourself, Ma’am.

  • Anne

    OK I’ve tried answering Branko twice and it’s not coming through. Do you have replies blocked or something? Name one falsehood or strawman. You can’t, because they’re not there. You’re the one demonizing women by calling them murderers. If you think your representatives platforms are demonic, maybe you should stop voting for them.

    Women don’t get abortions unless they’re desperate. It’s not something fun we just get together and do on a Saturday afternoon. Of course this is trying to make abortions illegal. I am from MS and this same farced-up law tried to shut down our very last clinic. It’s completely medically unnecessary and doesn’t apply to any other specialty. It’s just to restrict, then eliminate, abortion clinics. Medical abortion is very very safe – much safer than pregnancy and childbirth, so this is in no way protecting women. Back-alley abortion is very very dangerous, and is exactly what will happen if we close the clinics. Women have been ending pregnancies since the dawn of time – it won’t stop just because it becomes illegal again. We’ll just lose more mothers and daughters trying to control their futures and bodies.

    When you start actually trying to help these kids maybe you can start using “pro-life” again, but that’s not at all what you are. You want the child born but will cut food stamps, head start and daycare programs, anything to give the mom competitive pay, and won’t let gays adopt them. Seeing more of the picture than “poor innocent babies” isn’t changing the subject, it’s just the ability to think on more than a micro scale.

    • Say What

      Anne, be carful about making Blanko look like a fool! His next tactic is to click on the “report comment” button to try to kill off your posts.

      • Anne

        Meh, let him. He’s the one name-calling and demonizing. If they remove mine while letting his stand it’ll be pretty clear how balanced and unbiased the site is so I just won’t return.

      • Say What

        Anne, his tactic only work temporarily. The posts are not deleted when WHN reviews them. He just succeeds in having them disappear until the review clears the post.

  • Bri

    It’s okay if you don’t agree with me, I just know I rather women have a safe way to end their pregnancy. Abortions will always happen, the question isn’t do we want to stop abortions, it’s do we want to stop safe abortions. I mean if you think a woman should die for having an abortion, by all means support making them illegal. But if you think abortions would stop or at least dramatically drop if they became illegal. Then maybe you should look at the big picture, most places are over populated and making abortions illegal would make that worse. So maybe you could look at it that way or to stretch my point further, imagine they found a way to keep people from dying, would you think it would be wrong to let people die when they could live on? Of course not, in a world where nobody dies, we would be over run with people and would eventually starve. Death is needed for the survival of the human race, wether it’s from natural causes, accidents or even abortions.

  • Anne

    I’m from MS and they just tried to use this same law to shut down our last remaining clinic, so don’t say the goal of this isn’t to make all abortion illegal. It doesn’t apply to any other specialty, and the ER would do admissions (not the abortion doctor) anyway. It doesn’t make the procedure any more safe, it just lets all the private hospitals refuse admitting privileges so the clinics have to close. It’s not even sneaky – it’s outright what my Gov Bryant said was his intention “to make abortion illegal in the state of MS.” That’s what AL is doing now. They don’t want women safe, they want them punished and shamed for having sex. If a man can walk away from a pregnancy with no consequences then a woman can too. To say otherwise is blatant sex discrimination.

  • Anne

    And thank you, SayWhat for answering some of the basic bullcrap Branko was spewing and my comments weren’t coming through. He claims “lowlife libs” lie, while clearly showing he has a Fox News political education.

    • paul

      Anne, it’s very important to keep on posting positive comments to folks like blanko and others who gather their opinions from FIXED (fox) NEWS. Someone has to stand up to ignorance! Keep own keepin own Anne!

    • Say What

      Anne, this is not my first rodeo with Blanko. I find his hypocritical posts entertaining. Plus, his posts give me the opportunity to express the liberal side to clearly show how crazy his ideas really are! When people see the contrast they tend to move more to the left! This is how social change occurs! I could use some help on this discussion forum — join us anytime!

  • Anne

    It looks like all my stuff came through at once, so I look like I’m just repeating myself. Sorry about that, but I stand by every word.

  • Deborah

    Women’s Health and Safety Act of 2013 – this is the issue on which the judge ruled. How does requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges (in the event something goes wrong with the abortion or an attempted abortion isn’t) make an undue burden on women seeking services? Sounds rather ironic that an act meant to procure safety and health for women rejects a qualified physician “for the woman’s health” at a local hospital (which abortion clinics are not). It isn’t arguing abortion.

    • Say What

      Deborah, the Mississippi legislators are not bashful crowing about the fact that their law was meant to shut down abortion clinics. Alabama legislators copied their law with the same motive.

      Can you tell us what the death rate is for women getting legal abortions in licensed clinics? Than, let us know what the death rate is in hospitals in America. Are the death rates in abortion clinics so much higher than in hospitals in general to justify the need for protective legislation?

      The legislation that you cited is just another example of Republican legislation to control peoples lives masquerading as a fix to a problem that does not exist! Just like the voter fraud legislation to protect us from non-existing voter fraud!

    • Anne

      Exactly, Say What. The idea is that hospitals can deny the privileges (like they did in MS) then force the clinic to close. This is not a requirement of any other specialty, and is completely unnecessary. ER doctors do the admitting in the extremely rare emergency situation, so there’s no benefit to women’s safety.

  • B

    @SAY WHAT, you recently posted saying that you were pro-life. Did you change your opinion for the sake of argument? I’m honestly just curious.

    • Say What

      It is too bad that you do not remember the rest of that post. I will remind you. In America we do not have a Christian sharia law system. We still base our laws on science not on the hundreds of different Biblical interpretations. Heck, take any issue and you will not even get Christians to agree! That is not a good way to make legislation/laws! Trying to do so leads to situations like here in Alabama where Republican legislation is continuously shot down by the courts! Therefore, the settled law of the land is that a fetus is not viable outside the mother’s womb until the second trimester. That is when it is given protections. I do favor restrictions on abortions after the second trimester; except in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother. Now, combine that with my anti-death penalty position and I am more pro-life than most people that call themselves pro-life! There is no doubt that the death penalty convicts and executes wrongly convicted people. Go to the Innocence Project website for documented cases. Those are innocent lives just as the babies that you want to protect. I guess innocent poor and minority people about to be put to death do not tug at your heart as do little fetuses. I have always found it interesting that pro-lifers couldn’t care less about those innocent lives! They are not pro-life, they are only pro-fetus!

  • gene

    In this modern time I can get a pill and give it to my dog and he wont get fleas for a month,…it seems like they would come up with something a man or woman could take to keep from being put in the position of needing an abortion.

    • Anne

      Easy cheap access to birth control is the best way to reduce abortion rates. It’s just not as easy as assuming hormonal pills and condoms work for everyone. I needed the IUD since I am allergic to latex and the hormones made me extremely sick. Unfortunately, conservatives keep pushing for making BC harder to get, and now employers can even be sure that insurance doesn’t cover the good kinds after the employee pays for the insurance themselves. They are also against medically-sound sex ed so that teens won’t make so many mistakes. Republicans are against everything that actually works to reduce abortion rates, then they want to make abortion illegal, then they want to cut social programs for the mothers. Like I said, it’s all about oppression. I’m pro-choice, but also wish abortions happened less often because I am morally opposed. I just don’t think everyone should be ruled by my moral code. I don’t want an abortion so I won’t get one. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be available and safe for those in situations I’ll never understand.

  • Say What

    WHNT, it looks like your discussion forum is totally useless now that everyone is hitting the “Report Comment” button! Some on this discussion forum have been doing that for a long time. Now that I pointed it out the Anne, the cat is out of the bag and gone wild! You need to delete that option!

    • Anne

      I guess you’re implying that I’m another user name for Say What. I guess I can’t prove that I’m not, but you’re deluding yourself so you think this isn’t a common line of thought. In truth a majority of Americans support the right of a woman to choose, so it’s not outlandish to think that more than one on this thread would agree. Believe what you want, but this is my first time on this board and since I’m not local might be my only visit. I just feel strongly about the subject since the Theocrats are trying to do in your state what they’ve been trying in mine for decades – remove all the legal options for women to end their pregnancies. It’s okay to be morally opposed – I am, too. I just know that it’s dangerous to start limiting freedoms based on legislating morality. Just because you believe something is wrong doesn’t mean it won’t do greater harm by being illegal.

  • s.

    Several on this post have obvious vendettas against anyone with a different opinion. Choices and consequences rule. It’s pretty obvious that with birth control being paid for by the employer/insurance company that the “control” of one’s body CAN happen in advance of a pregnancy. Certainly there are extenuating circumstances but to blast any one person or group as being the villain isn’t realistic. Again, choices and consequences. Hoping anger is removed from the posts, it would be nice to see real conversation without attacks. Everyone has the same right to speak what you believe.

  • NRA Is Here To Stay

    The only thing that is “Unconstitutional” is this Useless Judge! Abortion is Murder, and will be treated as such in the ONLY Supreme Court, Where Almighty God Rules Supreme. It doesn’t matter whether you believe or not!!

    • Red

      And how exactly do you equate the “supreme court” with God? Your name is amusing. Ignorance and stupidity are “here to stay” as well.

  • Skillpot

    Thanks U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, for making the right decision to protect the rights of the woman to make the decision for herself!

  • Jeremy Smith

    Back Alley abortions don’t exist you ignorant fools. All a woman needs to have a legit, baby murdering, tearing limb from limb, bloody baby body parts thrown in a trash bag after being sucked from your womb with a metal vacuum hose tip, is to procure Obama Care. It pays for it in full.
    Quit your pseudo intellectual banter and go forth and party it up. The bottom line is ABORTION IS MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE. Premeditated and executed with prejudice. You will answer to a higher power on judgement day… Party on Ho’s of Alabama.. Party on with impunity.
    Shameful and pathetic much??

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