West Alabama Women’s Center v. Miller


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on behalf of two abortion providers challenging SB 363, a law which bans dilation and evacuation (D&E) the most common method of second-trimester abortion. Plaintiffs allege that by banning the safest and most common method of second-trimester abortion, the D&E ban violates Plaintiffs’ patients’ right to liberty and privacy as guaranteed by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They further allege that the ban violates Plaintiffs’ patients’ right to bodily integrity guaranteed by the due process clause because it forces pregnant patients to undergo an unnecessary procedure that their physician does not believe is in their medical interests in order to effectuate their right to obtain an abortion.

Plaintiffs also challenged a regulation requiring that doctors either have staff privileges at a local hospital or a written agreement with a local physician who has such privileges or, if they are unable to comply with the staff privileges/covering physician requirement, to give patients a copy of their medical record before they leave the facility. Plaintiffs allege that the latter requirement would jeopardize the privacy of their patients—some of whom include victims of domestic abuse—because “the requirement forces patients to receive a paper trail of reproductive health care.”

Finally, Plaintiffs challenged SB 205, which prohibits the Alabama Department of Public Health from issuing or renewing a health center license to an abortion clinic or reproductive health center that is located within 2000 feet of a K-8 public school.

STATUS

On July 13, 2016, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued a temporary restraining order blocking the state from enforcing SB 205 and SB 363. On October 27, 2016, Judge Thompson ruled that the two laws are unconstitutional and blocked them. Alabama appealed the district court’s ruling regarding SB 363, the D and E ban. The state did not appeal the ruling regarding SB 205.

The parties agreed to settle the challenge regarding the admitting privileges regulation, and that claim was dismissed.

On August 22, 2018, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court ruling blocking the D&E ban. Alabama appealed that ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

KEY DOCUMENTS

**last updated February 22, 2019


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