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Court Rules Alabama Abortion Clinics Can Sit Next To Schools

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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Grace Carr Reporter
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An Alabama judge overturned two abortion laws on Thursday, one law limited how close abortion clinics can be located to public schools and the other banned an abortion procedure used in the second trimester of pregnancy.

The school-proximity law prevented clinics from operating within 2,000 feet of any K-8 public school. Former Gov. Robert Bentley, a Republican, signed the law in May 2016 and was the only law of its kind in the U.S., according to Reuters.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson prohibited the state of Alabama from enforcing the law. “Thompson said it would likely have forced the closing of clinics in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa, where 72 percent of the state’s abortions are performed,” Reuters reported Thursday.

These facilities don’t need to be “anywhere near our children,” State Rep. Ed Henry, a Republican, said in 2016.

The judge ruled both laws unconstitutional.

“Because these laws clearly impose an impermissible undue burden on a woman’s ability to choose an abortion, they cannot stand,” Thompson wrote in the ruling.

The “fetal-demise law” struck down Thursday banned an abortion method known as the dilation and evacuation method, according to Reuters.

“Both [laws] would have had a devastating impact on the ability of women to access abortion in Alabama,” said Randall Marshall, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, applauding Thompson’s decision.

Thompson blocked both measures last year with a preliminary injunction.

The ruling follows U.S. District Judge Earl Lee Yeakel III’s temporary removal of a ban on second trimester abortions in Texas. (Related: Texas Judge Blocks Abortion Restrictions From Taking Effect)This ruling also follows similar, recent blocks on abortion regulations in Kansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, according to The Associated Press.

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