ACLU Sues Alabama Over Abortion Restrictions That Would Severely Limit Access Statewide

State’s Newest Abortion Laws Would Shutter Clinics, Ban Medically Proven Procedures and Harm Women

Affiliate: ACLU of Alabama
June 3, 2016 9:30 am

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a legal challenge to three new abortion restrictions that are part of Alabama’s years-long effort to shut down abortion clinics and impose obstacles in the path of a woman who has decided to have an abortion.

The first law, which forces abortion clinics within 2,000 feet of a K-8 public school to close, would shut down the only abortion clinics in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa. Those two clinics provide well over half of the abortions in the state, and shutting them down would leave just three abortion providers in a state of nearly one million women of reproductive age. The second restriction would ban physicians from providing a safe and medically proven method of abortion. The third requirement singles out abortion providers for a medically unnecessary requirement to give every patient a copy of her medical records, even if she does not want it—a requirement that would jeopardize the confidentiality of women seeking abortion services.

“Yet again, Alabama politicians have passed unconstitutional laws designed to prevent a woman from getting the care she needs,” said Andrew Beck, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “We are hopeful that the court will strike these laws down too, but it’s just plain irresponsible for politicians to keep forcing doctors to go court just to ensure that they can provide the care that women need.”

In recent years, courts have blocked three restrictions that would have obstructed access to reproductive healthcare in Alabama. Earlier this year, a federal court permanently struck down a law that similarly would have shut down abortion clinics and harmed women.

“Some politicians seem to be laser focused on stopping a woman who has decided to have an abortion from actually getting one,” said Susan Watson, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama. “It’s long past time for our elected officials to stop interfering with a woman’s personal decisions and to start dealing with the very real problems in our state.”

The restrictions challenged in this lawsuit are part of a nationwide effort by abortion opponents to restrict abortion access. Since 2010, politicians across the country have enacted over 300 laws aimed at restricting a woman’s ability to have an abortion.

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