Two Alabama Abortion Clinics Reopen; Lawsuit Will Determine Future Access

October 24, 2014 — Two Alabama abortion clinics have reopened after closing earlier this year, but a lawsuit in federal court will determine whether one of them, as well as two others, will have to close, the AP/UT-San Diego reports.

The Planned Parenthood Southeast Clinic in Birmingham had closed in January after discovering that two employees were selling abortion medication in the center's parking lot. The two employees were fired, and the clinic has since hired new staff members and made other adjustments, according to health department records.

The other clinic, in Huntsville, reopened in a new location after closing in June because its old location did not comply with a state law (HB 57) that requires abortion clinics to meet the same building standards as ambulatory surgical centers.

Court Case Could Determine Clinics' Future

In addition to structural requirements, the law also requires that abortion providers have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. A federal judge struck down the requirement in August, but the state has appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Although physicians at the Huntsville clinic and one in Tuscaloosa, which performs the most abortions in the state, already meet the admitting privileges requirement, officials with the Birmingham clinic and two clinics in Mobile and Montgomery have said they will have to close if the law is enforced.

Eleven other states, including neighboring Mississippi, have similar admitting privileges laws (Rawls, AP/UT-San Diego, 10/22).