A federal judge has temporarily blocked the enforcement of new state laws banning abortion clinics near schools and outlawing a commonly used second trimester abortion procedure.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued an order yesterday delaying enforcement of the laws that were set to take effect Aug. 1. Thompson scheduled an Oct. 4 hearing on a request from abortion providers to permanently block the laws.

Lawyers for Alabama abortion providers have asked a federal judge to block new state laws that ban abortion clinics near schools as well as a commonly-used second trimester abortion procedure.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson scheduled a telephone conference on the request for a temporary restraining order. Unless blocked by federal court, the new laws will go into effect August 1.

A bill to prohibit a commonly used second-trimester abortion procedure has advanced in the Alabama Legislature.

The Senate voted 30-2 today for Republican Sen. Phil Williams' bill. A companion bill in the House has passed out of committee.

The legislation would prohibit a procedure called dilation and evacuation, or "D&E." The bill would allow the procedure in the event of a "serious health risk to the mother."

The bill's supporters describe the procedure as "heinous" and "barbaric."

A bill in the Alabama Legislature that would have effectively banned abortion in the state has failed to make it to a vote during the current legislative session.

Bill sponsor Representative Ed Henry (R) says the bill is "essentially dead". House Democrats mounted an effective filibuster earlier this week, and the House of Representatives adjourned before voting on the bill.

Committees in Alabama’s House of Representatives passed two notable bills yesterday. One would prevent abortion clinics from being located near public schools, and another would take the state of Alabama out of the marriage process entirely.

Legislators say the abortion bill is aimed at protecting students from the chaos of protestors outside abortion clinics. It would close an existing abortion facility in Huntsville, which was forced to move to its current location near a public school after the state mandated new facility requirements in 2013.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

The Alabama House of Representatives approved measures to cement the state’s right-to-work status and to ban the sale of fetal tissue yesterday.

One bill would amend the state’s constitution to prevent companies from requiring their employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment. The practice has already been prohibited under state law, but Republicans say adding the language to the state constitution will make Alabama more appealing to industry. Lawmakers fell three votes short of passing the measure last week. Yesterday, the bill passed 69-33.

A federal judge has temporarily suspended enforcement of a state regulation that threatened to close one of the state's busiest abortion clinics.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson says the closure of the Tuscaloosa clinic could prevent women from obtaining abortions.

The West Alabama Women's Center of Tuscaloosa is challenging a 2007 state regulation.  It requires clinics to hire a physician with hospital-admitting privileges to handle patient complications

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

Alabama’s lawmakers are back in Montgomery for a special session to work on the budget.

Governor Robert Bentley is seeking a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase. He also wants to raise the business privilege tax on larger businesses while giving smaller ones a tax cut. The governor has also suggested ending the ability of taxpayers to claim a state income tax deduction when they pay their federal Social Security taxes.

Tuscaloosa Representative Bill Poole says he is not optimistic the legislature will draft a budget in this special session.

A federal judge says he will rule by Friday on a female prisoner's request for an abortion.

U.S. District Abdul Kallon made the comment after hearing arguments yesterday in a lawsuit filed by the woman.

The unnamed prisoner filed suit against Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton seeking a court order that would let her leave jail to travel to Huntsville for the procedure.

State lawmakers from Mobile and Baldwin Counties are drafting legislation to try and keep a large portion of the BP oil settlement money near Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

The proposed bill would request $500 million of the $1 billion currently destined for the state’s General Fund budget to instead be dedicated to the Gulf region. The projects that legislators would like to see funded in the area are primarily major road construction.

A Tuscaloosa abortion clinic is suing the state of Alabama over a regulation that could cause the facility to permanently close.

The West Alabama Women's Center filed the federal lawsuit against state health officials last week. The suit deals with a regulation requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, or a contract with a physician who does to handle patients with complications.


Two closed abortion clinics in Alabama have reopened, giving the state a total of five licensed clinics.

An attorney with the state health department says the Planned Parenthood Southeast clinic in Birmingham has reopened after taking corrective actions. The clinic closed in January after firing two employees for selling abortion medication to a person in the clinic parking lot. The clinic replaced its staff and made other changes.

Alabama Women's Center

An abortion clinic in Huntsville has won permission to relocate so it can comply with new state restrictions.

WAAY-TV reports the city zoning board approved the relocation of the Alabama Women's Center for Reproductive Alternatives during a meeting Tuesday night. It's the state's only abortion clinic north of Birmingham.

Abortion opponents tried to block the move but lost. They now plan to file a lawsuit.

Julie Bennett / al.com

A federal judge says an Alabama law restricting abortion doctors is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled Monday that state lawmakers exceeded their authority when they passed a law last year requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges.

Thompson issued an order temporarily blocking enforcement of the law.

Thompson's decision comes days after a federal appeals court blocked a similar law in Mississippi.

Planned Parenthood and others filed a lawsuit over the Alabama law last year.

Alabama Women's Center

Three of Alabama's five abortion clinics remain open after complying with a new state law that sets stricter building requirements.

The law was passed by the Legislature last year and it goes into effect Tuesday.

The Alabama Department of Public Health says clinics in Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Mobile have worked to comply with the law's requirements for wider halls and doors and improved fire safety measures. A clinic in Huntsville closed Friday because it couldn't meet the requirements. But it is planning to move to a new location and get a new license.

Alabama Women's Center

The only abortion clinic in north Alabama is expected to close by the end of the week.

Officials at the Alabama Women's Center said Tuesday that they'd rather close voluntarily than be faced with a state intervention.

The clinic was faced with a July 1 deadline to bring its facility up to code with a surgical treatment center.

Getty Images

A federal judge is scheduled to hear closing arguments in a trial over a new Alabama law requiring doctors at abortion clinic to have approval to admit patients to nearby hospitals.

Clinic operators in Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham say they use traveling doctors who can't get admitting privileges, and they will have to stop performing abortions if a federal judge allows the law to take effect. The state attorney general's office says enforcement of the law will make abortions safer.

Getty Images

The owner of a Montgomery abortion clinic says she's never had a Montgomery-based physician performing abortions at the clinic during her 36 years at the facility and she has always used out-of-town doctors.

Julie Bennett / al.com

A federal court trial begins Monday over an Alabama abortion law that proponents say will make abortions safer and opponents say will close three of Alabama's five licensed abortion clinics.

The trial in Montgomery stems from a 2013 law that requires doctors at abortion clinics to have approval to admit patients to nearby hospitals. The clinics in Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham say they will have to close because they use traveling doctors who can't sec8ure such admitting privileges.

A federal judge has set a May 19 trial date for a lawsuit challenging a new Alabama abortion law.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson will hold a non-jury trial concerning an Alabama law that requires doctors at abortion clinics to have approval to admit patients to nearby hospitals. Three of Alabama's five licensed abortion clinics challenged the law on grounds it would force them to close.

The judge has ruled the trial will focus on one issue: whether the law violates the due process right of women seeking abortion by creating substantial obstacles.

Getty Images

A federal judge is delaying enforcement of an Alabama law regulating abortion clinics for one more week while he tries to rule on a lawsuit challenging the law. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson had planned to rule on the lawsuit by Monday. But he issued an order extending a prohibition against enforcing the law through April 2 to give him more time to rule. The American Civil Liberties Union and abortion clinic operators are challenging an Alabama law that requires doctors at abortion clinics to have privileges to admit patients to local hospitals.

Alabama State House
Trance Mist / Flickr

The Alabama Legislature is getting closer to extending the waiting period for an abortion in the state.

The Senate Health Committee voted 7-1 Wednesday to approve a bill that extends the waiting time from 24 hours to 48 hours after a woman receives information from an abortion clinic about the procedure and associated risks. Republicans senators cast the yes votes, and Democratic Sen. Billy Beasley cast the lone nay vote.

Getty Images

—Approved a bill to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, something that can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Goes to Senate. (see below for more) —Approved a bill to require women seeking an abortion because of lethal fetal anomalies to be advised about the availability of perinatal hospice services. Goes to Senate. — Approved a bill to extend the waiting period before abortions from 24 to 48 hours. Goes to Senate.


Abortion opponents are asking the state to impose tighter restrictions on doctors performing the medical procedure in Alabama.

The state health agency held a public hearing Thursday on a proposed rule that would drastically reduce the number of abortions a physician's office can perform without being considered an abortion clinic. Such a designation increases state oversight.

Activists told a hearing officer they want even tighter regulations, with doctor's offices unable to perform any abortions without being considered a clinic. They say that would help protect women.


Alabama's governor says he plans to sign legislation mandating stricter abortion clinic standards like Mississippi has done.

Opponents say Alabama's legislation will be challenged in court like Mississippi's.

The Republican-led House and Senate approved the bill Tuesday night, mostly along party lines. It now goes to Gov. Robert Bentley. He said Thursday he plans to sign it after his lawyers make sure there have been no unanticipated changes from the bill he endorsed early in the legislative session.

It's not just states where abortion is heating up as an issue this election year. Congress is getting back into the fray, too.