MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A federal judge has blocked an Alabama abortion regulation that could have permanently closed the state's busiest abortion clinic, saying the rule was unnecessary to protect women.
U.S. District Myron Thompson issued a temporary restraining order last week blocking the regulation concerning the West Alabama Women's Center in Tuscaloosa. He followed up with an 81-page opinion issued Thursday.
The 2007 health regulation requires clinics to hire a physician with hospital-admitting privileges to handle patient complications. The clinic filed a lawsuit challenging it.
The clinic complied with the regulation for years, but said it was unable to meet the requirement after its longtime doctor retired.
According to court records, the clinic is one of five abortion providers in Alabama, but performed about 40 percent of the state's abortions in 2013.