A recently signed law that Republican leaders in Alabama touted as a way to make abortions safer is now on hold. Opponents of the law, who claim the legislation is just a ploy to force clinics' closure under strain of new, unnecessary requirements, took the legislation to court and won a temporary restraining order against its implementation Friday.
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson heard arguments from both sides Thursday and made his ruling Friday. Had Thompson not issued the restraining order, the law would have gone into effect Monday, July 1.
"I am disappointed in Judge Thompson's ruling, and my support of this legislation has not changed," Governor Bentley said in a statement.
"Judge Thompson's ruling places partisan politics before the health and safety of women across Alabama," Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) said. "I am confident this wrongheaded ruling will be overturned, and this law will be enacted despite the efforts of the liberals and abortionists working to block it."
The suit was brought by plaintiffs Planned Parenthood Southeast, Inc., Reproductive Health Services and June Ayers who said the law was not medically necessary and was designed to put the state's abortion clinics under pressure that would force 3 of the 5 facilities to close.
[DOCUMENT: Temporary Restraining Order (.pdf)]
Those clinics are in Montgomery, Mobile and Birmingham and are said to have provided more than 40 percent of the abortions done in Alabama in the last year.
Among the most concerning parts of the law to opponents is its requirement that abortion clinic physicians obtain local hospital admitting privileges, which the plaintiffs say is a difficult task.
Attorneys for Alabama say the law is designed to make abortion clinics safer for women seeking to end a pregnancy.
Judge Thompson's temporary restraining order is effective until 2:45 p.m. on July 12, 2013 unless he decides to extend or dismiss it.
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