AL drops abortion law appeal after SCOTUS ruling on similar TX regulations

AL drops abortion law appeal after SCOTUS ruling on similar TX regulations

Monday's 5-3 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that found unconstitutional a Texas regulation on abortion will affect a similar law in Alabama. The measure that was struck down required abortion doctors to obtain hospital admitting privileges and surgical-setting at clinics.

Alabama's law was passed in 2013, but was on hold after a federal judge found it unconstitutional. The law's fate was working its way through the court system when Monday's ruling came down.

Alabama Attorney General Luther released the following statement on Monday:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today against a Texas law requiring abortion clinic doctors to obtain local hospital admitting privileges,” said Attorney General Strange. “The Texas law which was declared unconstitutional is nearly identical to an Alabama abortion clinic law currently under legal challenge. 

“While I disagree with the high court’s decision,” said Attorney General Strange, “there is no good faith argument that Alabama’s law remains constitutional in light of the Supreme Court ruling.  Accordingly, my office will dismiss our appeal of a 2014 federal court ruling declaring Alabama’s abortion clinic law unconstitutional.

Gov. Robert Bentley also released a statement in regards to the ruling:

"I am disappointed to see the U.S. Supreme Court make a political decision in their ruling of the Texas abortion clinic regulation. As a physician, I am concerned about the medical condition of all women, especially when a woman is facing a serious health procedure. In this Texas case, the Supreme Court is making a medical ruling, without any sound medical expertise. Requiring a doctor to have admitting privileges at a local hospital protects the doctor and the patient. In 2013, I signed into law the Women’s Health and Safety Act that requires clinics that provide abortions to meet the same facility standards as ambulatory care centers, which include admitting privileges at local hospitals.

In February 2016, Alabama joined the filing of the Texas amicus brief because I support the regulating of unsafe health practices at women’s health clinics.  The conscious decision to end human life should never be cause for celebration in a civilized society. There is value to all human life and all humanity."

Susan Watson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, called the Supreme Court decision a victory for women and abortion access. Watson said she hoped the state's attorney general office would abandon the effort to appeal the Alabama case.

If the admitting privilege requirement was enforced, as many as four of Alabama's five abortion clinics would close.

Copyright 2016 WSFA 12 News. The Associated Press contributed. All rights reserved.