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235820667 Abortion Clinic Decision August 4 2014

235820667 Abortion Clinic Decision August 4 2014

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Published by Abby Ohlheiser
AL abortion
AL abortion

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Published by: Abby Ohlheiser on Aug 04, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA, NORTHERN DIVISIONPLANNED PARENTHOOD ) SOUTHEAST, INC., on behalf )of its patients,) physicians, and staff, )et al., ))CIVIL ACTION NO.Plaintiffs, ) 2:13cv405-MHT) (WO)v.))LUTHER STRANGE, in his )official capacity as ) Attorney General of the)State of Alabama, et al.,))Defendants.)OPINIONIn Planned Parenthood of Se. Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S.833 (1992), the Supreme Court of the United Statesannounced two principles that must govern this court’sanalysis of the right to choose to have an abortion. First, the Court reaffirmed “the right of the woman tochoose to have an abortion before viability and to obtainit without undue interference from the State.” Id. at846 (1992) (majority opinion). Second, the Court
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endorsed “the principle that the State has legitimateinterests from the outset of the pregnancy in protectingthe health of the woman and the life of the fetus that may become a child.” Id. However, in the controllingopinion, a plurality of the court announced that a Stateregulation goes too far in pursuing those legitimateinterests when it imposes an “undue burden” on thewoman’s ability to choose an abortion. Id. at 874 (jointopinion of O’Connor, Kennedy, and Souter, JJ.). As a trial court in the trenches, this court mustremain faithful to the rule of law and not to its owndoubts--or convictions--about the correctness ofestablished law. Thus, this court must now apply the principles announced in Casey to determine theconstitutionality of the State of Alabama’s recentlyenacted requirement that all doctors who provideabortions must have staff privileges to perform designated procedures at a local hospital, codified at1975 Ala. Code § 26-23E-4(c).2
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In order to give “real substance to the woman’sliberty,” id. at 869, while at the same time fullyhonoring the State’s ability to pursue, in good faith,its own acknowledged legitimate interests, this courtconcludes that it must hold that this requirement isunconstitutional. The evidence compellingly demonstratesthat the requirement would have the striking result ofclosing three of Alabama’s five abortion clinics, clinicswhich perform only early abortions, long beforeviability. Indeed, the court is convinced that, if thisrequirement would not, in the face of all the evidence inthe record, constitute an impermissible undue burden,then almost no regulation, short of those imposing anoutright prohibition on abortion, would.I. PROCEDURAL HISTORYThe plaintiffs in this case, Reproductive HealthServices, Planned Parenthood Southeast, and theiradministrators, operate abortion clinics in Montgomery,3
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