Ben Johnson

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ACLU files suit against law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at hospitals

Ben Johnson
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MONTGOMERY, AL, June 12, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The ACLU and three abortion providers have filed a lawsuit against an Alabama law protecting women's health on the grounds that lawmakers are trying to deprive women of “essential care” like abortion.

“In some cases, women will be unable to obtain abortions altogether because of the loss of abortion services,” according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood Southeast, Reproductive Health Services, and a registered nurse.

The plaintiffs say Alabama's Women's Health Safety Act could force abortion facilities they operate in Birmingham, Mobile, and Montgomery to close their doors because, they admit, their doctors “cannot comply with the staff privileges requirement.”

The state law treats abortion facilities like other surgical centers, requiring their doctors be able to admit patients to an area hospital in the case of a botched abortionnot an uncommon occurrence in the state.

Planned Parenthood contends that admitting privileges are “medically unnecessary” and "completely irrelevant," because complications from botched abortions "are safely and appropriately managed in the clinic setting," according to its legal complaint before the Alabama Middle District Court in Montgomery

Susan Watson, executive director of the state chapter of the ACLU, said, “By forcing most of the abortion clinics in the state to stop providing abortions, this law will make it impossible for some women to get this essential care.”

Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, an attorney with the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project, said the health measure "insults women's intelligence.”

“[A]bortion is one of the safest surgical procedures,” the lawsuit contends.

The plaintiffs also claim the law violates the abortionists' “due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.”

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Gov. Robert Bentley signed the bill, which passed on April 9 and is scheduled to go into effect on July 1.

Neighboring Mississippi is similarly caught in a legal battle over a its law requiring that abortionists have admitting privileges at a local hospital in case of emergency. Diane Derzis, who operates that state's last remaining abortion office, claims legislators designed the law to put her out of business. 

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