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.
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.
A federal judge has blocked enforcement of Alabama's new abortion clinic law until Aug. 15 to allow time for both sides to file more legal arguments.
The new law was passed by the Legislature in its spring session. It requires doctors at abortion clinics to have approval from a local hospital to admit patients.
The law was supposed to take effect July 1, but Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and others got U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson to delay it while the groups challenged in it court.
A federal judge is blocking part of Alabama's new abortion clinic law from taking effect. The part of the law at issue requires doctors at abortion clinics to have approval to admit patients to a nearby hospital.
Alabama's governor has signed into law stricter abortion clinic regulations.
Gov. Robert Bentley signed the bill Tuesday at the Capitol while surrounded by legislators who supported it.
The new law requires clinics to use doctors who have approval to admit patients to local hospitals. Bentley, who is a physician, said a doctor who can't get admitting privileges from a hospital probably ought not to be practicing in the state.
The bill also sets stricter building standards for abortion clinics, and it gives them a couple of months to comply.
The Alabama Legislature is returning from its spring break and beginning the second half of its 2013 session.
The House Ways and Means-Education Committee has scheduled a public hearing on the state education budget for Tuesday morning. The House has a proposed work agenda Tuesday afternoon that includes a bill to legalize home brewing of beer and wine.