American Civil Liberties Union

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.

Alabama’s state prisons were built to hold 13,000 inmates. They currently house over 25,000.

That makes Alabama prisons among the most crowded in the nation, and state politicians fear the crowding may soon bring federal intervention to the troubled prison system.

In an effort to relieve some of the overcrowding, lawmakers approved changes to sentencing and probation standards this spring as well as a bond issue for additional prison beds. The changes include the creation of a lower level felony class and the planned hiring of 100 additional probation officers.

A federal judge has ruled once more that gays and lesbians have the right to marry in all Alabama counties, but placed her decision on hold until the U.S Supreme Court issues their ruling on same-sex marriage nationally.

U.S District Judge Callie Granade ruled yesterday saying once again that Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and ordered all probate judges to stop enforcing that ban. But her order won’t go into effect until a U.S. Supreme Court decision which is expected to be handed down sometime next month.

The Alabama House Health Committee recently approved a series of abortion restrictions that opponents say would ban most abortions in the state.

The committee approved three separate pieces of legislation, including one bill that would prohibit abortion providers from performing an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Bill sponsor Terri Collins says the end of a person's life is defined by the absence of a heartbeat, so it makes sense that the beginning of life should be defined by the presence of one.

Mayors from several Alabama cities are planning for the future following a summit this week. The meeting in Huntsville focused on economic development and how they are bringing new jobs into the state. Mike Schmitz is the mayor of Dothan. He says the summit allows them to share ideas on how to improve their cities.

“It's really an opportunity for mayors to sit down and talk about issues that each one  of us is facing and hopefully learn from each other so we can do better.

The Alabama Legislature has passed a bill to establish charter schools in the state.

The House of Representatives voted 58 to 41 to pass the bill after making a few changes. State senators voted 24 to 11 to adopt those changes. The bill now heads to Governor Bentley, who is expected to sign the measure into law after a legal review.

State Democrats have been especially critical of the bill. Nick Rose is the President of the Tuscaloosa Democratic Party. He outlined the party’s three main complaints with the charter school measure.

The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging a new Alabama law that places additional requirements on a minor seeking an abortion without parental approval.

The ACLU says the Alabama law goes beyond any parental consent law in the nation. It provides that when a girl seeks judicial approval for an abortion without her parents' consent, the court can appoint a guardian for the fetus, and it allows a district attorney to question the girl.

The executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, Susan Watson, says the law aims to shame a young woman into not having an abortion.

Julie Bennett /

The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood have filed suit in federal court challenging a new Alabama law placing stricter regulations on abortion clinics.

   The suit filed Tuesday in Montgomery says the regulations are medically unnecessary and would shut down three of the state's five abortion clinics.

Ryan Vasquez

A judge has struck down Alabama's policy of segregating prison inmates with HIV, ruling that it violates federal law.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled Friday in favor of inmates who filed suit to end the longstanding practice. Thompson says the state's policy violates federal disabilities law.

Thompson says the state and inmate attorneys will have time to propose a way to bring state prisons into compliance with his order.

The American Civil Liberties Union calls the decision "historic." The state has yet to comment on the ruling. / Alabama Department of Corrections

Here in Alabama, prisoners with HIV are segregated from the rest of the prison population. This makes Alabama just one of two states that still does this. Prison officials say it’s for the safety of the inmates, but some prisoners say it’s unfair and a violation of privacy. The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the state on behalf of prisoners to end the segregation. Alabama Public Radio’s Ryan Vasquez spoke with the man at the center of the issue... 

Alabama prisons officials are headed to court to defend a long-standing policy that segregates inmates who have tested positive for HIV.

The American Civil Liberties Union says in a lawsuit filed by HIV-positive inmates the policy is unconstitutional and makes it difficult for some prisoners to participate in prison programs.

The American Civil Liberties Union is criticizing a new policy that requires Alabama prison visitors to have their fingerprints scanned.

David Fathi of the ACLU's National Prison Project tells the Montgomery Advertiser ( ) the new rule is "extreme."

Fathi says no other state has such a requirement. He says it's a barrier to people visiting state prisoners.

Prison spokesman Brian Corbett says the policy began last month as the department upgraded its computer systems.