MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A federal judge in Alabama who once ordered the removal of Roy Moore’s Ten Commandments monument has now also blocked a state law banning abortion facilities from operating near k-8 schools.
Judge Myron Thompson, appointed to the bench by then-President Jimmy Carter, opined that the law would close two abortion facilities that perform an estimated 70 percent of abortions in the state, and would therefore place an undue “burden” on mothers seeking to obtain an abortion since they would have to drive further.
“This burden would become particularly devastating for low-income women who represent half of all abortion recipients and a significant majority of women seeking abortions in Alabama,” he wrote.
Thompson said that it if women can’t have an abortionist end the lives of their children, they will resort to doing it themselves.
“Recently, Tuscaloosa’s medical director has treated multiple women who attempted to self-abort, such as a woman who consumed turpentine after consulting the Internet and learning about its use as a folk remedy,” he wrote. “So too can Alabama expect an increased level of self-abortions if the school-proximity law were to take effect.”
Thompson also contended that there was no evidence that the law, which was passed in part to keep children from being exposed to the issue of abortion, was necessary.
“The record contains absolutely no evidence of concerns expressed by the school’s students or their parents about the Huntsville clinic or the demonstrations near it,” he stated. “As to Highlands, the State’s two interests (minimizing disruption and supporting a parent’s right to control their children’s exposure to the subject of abortion) would not in any way be furthered by the closing or relocation of the Huntsville clinic.”
As previously reported, the law had been challenged earlier this year by abortionists Willie Parker (a professing Christian) and Yashica Robinson White, with the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama (ACLU).
“The Alabama Department of Public Health may not issue or renew a health center license to an abortion clinic or reproductive health center that performs abortions and is located within 2,000 feet of a K-8 public school,” the legislation, S.B. 205, simply reads.
There are two abortion facilities near schools in Alabama: Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives in Huntsville and West Alabama Women’s Center Inc. AL.com reports that the facilities performed 72 percent of the state’s 8,080 abortions in 2014.
Thompson also blocked a law on Thursday that would ban dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions, also known as dismemberment abortions. It made it illegal for abortionists to “purposely to dismember a living unborn child and extract him or her one piece at a time from the uterus through use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush, or grasp, or any combination of the foregoing, a portion of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip it off.”
D&E procedures are common nationwide in second trimester abortions.
Abortions 15 weeks (nearly four months gestation) and later would be “almost wholly unavailable,” Thompson asserted.
“Alabama women would likely lose their right to pre-viability abortion access at or after 15 weeks,” he said, stating that mothers have a “constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy before viability.”
The ACLU of Alabama cheered Thompson’s issuance of the preliminary injunctions. He had granted temporary emergency injunctions in July to stop the laws from going into effect on their scheduled date of Aug. 1.
“It’s long past time for our elected officials to stop wasting time and taxpayer money passing laws that violate women’s constitutional rights and start focusing on the needs of women and families in this state,” said executive director Susan Watson in a statement. “Alabama women deserve to access their rights protected by the Constitution. And our doctors deserve to be able to provide care in clinics, not fight medically unnecessary laws in courthouses.”
As previously reported, Thompson is known for ordering the removal of a Ten Commandments monument placed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in 2003. He also made headlines last October when he ruled that officials must restore the state’s contract with Planned Parenthood because canceling it denied women their choice in reproductive services.