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ACLU, Planned Parenthood Vow Court Battle Over Alabama TRAP Law

Robin Marty

The governor has signed HB 57 into law, but women's health and rights groups vow to challenge it in court.

During Tuesday’s signing ceremony for HB 57, a targeted regulation of abortion provider (TRAP) bill that may result in the closure of all of the abortion clinics in Alabama, Republican Gov. Robert Bentley said, “As a physician and as a governor, I am proud to sign this legislation.” Perhaps the state’s citizens would have been better off with a lawyer, rather than a dermatologist, at the helm, because this bill is going to court.

A portion of the bill requiring abortion clinics to obtain hospital admitting privileges for their physicians will be the most difficult to comply with. Citing medical opinions that admitting privileges don’t increase patient safety, Nikema Williams, vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood Southeast, said in a statement that her group is “evaluating every possible option to protect the health of women in the face of this dangerous law and blatant attack on women’s health and rights,” even if that could result in a lawsuit. “In these difficult economic times, when Alabamians need more access to affordable health care, Gov. Bentley may succeed in taking health care providers away from women. While we struggle with economic recovery, Bentley has all but assured wasting valuable taxpayer dollars on what will likely be a long legal battle,” she said. “Planned Parenthood remains committed to providing women the affordable, quality care they need—no matter what.”

If Planned Parenthood doesn’t challenge HB 57, you can be assured that the ACLU will file a suit instead. “In yet another state, extremist politicians have passed a law trying to outlaw access to abortion,” Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, staff attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said in a statement. “The ACLU will take all appropriate steps, including filing a challenge to block the law if necessary, to ensure that a woman in Alabama can continue to access safe abortion care.”

HB 57 is scheduled to go into effect on July 1. The question is how many different entities will sue to block the law before that date.

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