Abortion Law Trial Begins in Federal Court


By Ellis Eskew

Abortion takes center stage at the federal courthouse in Montgomery Monday.
The abortion law Governor Bentley signed into law last year is coming under fire.

In April 2013, Governor Robert Bentley signed the abortion bill into law.
It requires all doctors performing abortions in Alabama to have admitting privileges to hospitals in the event of a complication. But it is not sitting well with pro-choice advocates.

"The law is totally about politics and not women's health. So we're asking the court to come to the conclusion or acknowledge what is crystal clear already that is.. this law is unconstitutional and hurts women," said ACLU Executive Director Susan Watson.

The ACLU and Planned Parenthood are challenging the law, which is threatening to shutdown abortion clinics across the state including one in Montgomery.
But legislators who voted for the law say it is only setting a healthcare standard.

 "All this law does is put abortion clinics on the same footing as other outpatient centers," said Sen. Dick Brewbaker. "There was an incident in Birmingham where there were complications. No one on staff had admitting privileges to a hospital, and it took a long time to get that patient to a hospital and get them the proper care."

Watson argues that there is always to option for a woman to get the care she needs on her own.

"So if there is a complication, women can always go to the hospital and go to the emergency room just like everybody else that goes to the hospital when they are having a problem," said Watson.

She also argues government should not be involved with women's healthcare choices.
But Brewbaker had this to say in response.

"The government is already involved up to its eyeballs. I mean, look at the Affordable Care Act, the government is involved in healthcare and in issues like standard of care," said Brewbaker.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson has scheduled witnesses to testify through June 5. The ruling will come at a later date.


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