How could the Texas abortion ruling affect the women’s clinic in Huntsville?

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - ACLU attorneys say the newest Alabama abortion laws are unconstitutional.

The law the Alabama legislature passed and Governor Robert Bentley signed bans a second-trimester procedure. Another law prohibits the state from renewing or issuing licenses to clinics within 2000 feet of a public k-8 school. It's the proximity law that directly affects the Alabama Women's Center in Huntsville.

ACLU attorneys filed suit several weeks ago against Alabama Public Health officials, trying to block these laws from taking effect August 1. The Huntsville clinic would not be able to get its license renewed under the new law.

Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, ACLU Senior Staff Attorney, said, "You are looking at a law that was directly targeted at shutting down the clinic in Huntsville, which happens to be close to a school."

She said that even before a US Supreme Court ruling on a law in Texas, ACLU attorneys were against this new Alabama law. But the Texas ruling gives them greater fuel for their arguments.

"The Supreme Court has made very clear that you can not put women's health at risk when you pass laws just attempting to restrict abortion," she said.

Kolbi-Molinas said it's a message mainly to politicians, and one that she hopes those in Alabama take to heart: "Monday's decision just makes very clear that anytime politicians are going to try to enact a law restricting a woman's access to abortion, they are going to be obligated to put forth real evidence that that law actually is justified by protecting women's health."

If Reverend James Henderson has his way, though, the newest Alabama abortion laws will stand. He helped craft them, and considers them: "not only a spiritual victory, but a moral victory."

Henderson said what the court ruled about Texas does not shake his confidence in the laws he and other pro-life advocates believe. "We're optimistic that because these are a matter of law signed by the governor, they stand with considerable merit, and we think they should stand up in court," he said.

Henderson said he also believes the federal judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, is more lenient on pro-choice views. He is calling for that judge to be impeached. He said he only sees problems with the future of the current laws "if they go to an unfair judge."

ACLU attorneys hope for movement with this case in the court, sometime in July.

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