Planned Parenthood Southeast, Inc. et al v. Bentley et al
OPINION AND ORDER directing as follows: (1) plaintiffs Planned Parenthood Southeast, Inc., Reproductive Health Services, and June Ayers's 3 motion for a temporary restraining order is GRANTED; (2) Defendants Robert Bentley, Luther Strange, Ell en Brooks, Brandon K. Falls, Ashley Rich, Donald E.Williamson, George C. Smith, Jr., James E. West, and Martha Lavender, and all those acting in concert with them, are ENJOINED from: (a) enforcing the requirements of § 4(c) of HB 57, and (b) fai ling to notify immediately all state officials who are responsible for enforcing the requirements of HB 57 § 4(c) of this temporary restraining order; (3) this injunction shall expire on 7/12/2013, at 2:45 p.m.. Signed by Honorable Judge Myron H. Thompson on 6/28/13. (Attachments: # 1 civil appeals checklist)(djy, )
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA, NORTHERN DIVISION
SOUTHEAST, INC., on behalf
of its patients,
physicians, and staff,
ROBERT BENTLEY, in his
official capacity as
Governor of the State of
Alabama, et al.,
CIVIL ACTION NO.
OPINION AND ORDER
This lawsuit challenges recent Alabama legislation
that would require all physicians who perform abortions
at the State’s licensed abortion clinics to obtain staff
Parenthood Southeast Inc., Reproductive Health Services,
patients, physicians, and staff, allege that, if enacted,
this legislation would violate their rights under the Due
Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The plaintiffs have named as defendants the following
state officials: Robert Bentley, in his official capacity
as Governor of Alabama; Luther Strange, in his official
capacity as Attorney General of Alabama; Ellen Brooks, in
her official capacity as District Attorney of Montgomery
District Attorney of Mobile County, Alabama; Donald E.
Williamson, MD, in his official capacity as State Health
Officer of Alabama; George C. Smith, Jr., MD, in his
official capacity as Chairman of the Alabama Board of
Medical Examiners; James E. West, MD, in his official
capacity as Chairman of the Medical Licensure Commission
of Alabama; and Martha Lavender, DSN, RN, in her official
capacity as President of the Alabama Board of Nursing.
plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order.
Jurisdiction is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal
question) and 28 U.S.C. § 1343(a)(3)-(4) (civil rights).
For reasons that follow, and based on the limited record
restraining order will be granted.
To demonstrate that a temporary restraining order is
warranted, the plaintiffs must show: (1) a substantial
likelihood of success on the merits of their suit; (2)
that they will suffer irreparable harm absent injunctive
relief; (3) that the harm to the plaintiffs absent an
injunction would outweigh the harm to the defendants from
an injunction; and (4) that an injunction is in the
Ingram v. Ault, 50 F.3d 898, 900 (11th
Cir. 1995); Centr. Ala. Fair Hous. Ctr. v. Magee, No.
2:11cv982-MHT, 2011 WL 5878363, at *1 (M.D. Ala. Nov. 23,
2011) (Thompson, J.) (citing Grizzle v. Kemp, 634 F.3d
1314, 1320 (11th Cir. 2011)).
The law at issue is § 4(c) of HB 57, the “Women’s
Health and Safety Act.”
This provision requires that
every physician who performs abortions “shall have staff
privileges at an acute care hospital within the same
standard metropolitan statistical area as the facility
[where the physician performs abortions] is located that
permit him or her to perform dilation and curettage,
procedures reasonably necessary to treat abortion-related
HB 57, § 4(c), available at (Doc. No. 4an
reproductive health center were to allow his or her
facility to be operated in a manner that violates the
staff-privileges requirement, the administrator would be
guilty of a Class C Felony, which in Alabama carries a
punishment range of one to ten years imprisonment.
57, § 12(c); 1975 Ala. Code § 13A-5-6.
The abortion or
reproductive health center could also have its license
physician who performs an abortion without having met the
Id. at § 14(a).
is set to take effect July 1, 2013.
The plaintiffs in this case operate three of the five
licensed abortion facilities in this State.
Parenthood Southeast (PPSE), the sole licensed abortion
provider in Mobile and Birmingham, explain that their
physicians will be unable to obtain admitting privileges
at any local hospital due to a slew of prerequisites for
obtaining such privileges which have little if anything
to do with the caliber of the physicians themselves, and
everything to do with the hospitals’ own needs.1
The defendants dispute that the plaintiffs’
clinics and physicians cannot meet the staff privileges
requirement and contend that the hospitals’ prerequisites
example, Jackson Hospital in Montgomery requires that
physicians with staff privileges guarantee a minimum of
48 admissions, inpatient evaluations, consultations, or
procedures in the hospital every year; because abortion
physicians cannot meet this requirement.
(Doc. No. 4-4) Ex. C ¶ 23.
An additional impediment to
satisfying the staff-privileges requirement is that many
are not as stringent as the plaintiffs submit. However,
based on the record as it stands, the court finds the
plaintiffs’ assertions to be credible.
plaintiffs have credibly asserted that applying for staff
privileges and being denied can render significant harm
to a physician’s professional reputation. Such a denial
must be reported in a national database that is then
available to every State in which that physician has a
license, every State where that physician may seek a
license in the future, and every hospital where that
physician may seek privileges.
physicians should not be required to risk damage to their
professional reputations in order to test their ability
to comply with this law, particularly where it seems
highly unlikely that an attempt to obtain staff
privileges would be successful. However, the ability of
the plaintiffs’ physicians to obtain staff privileges is
likely to be a critical factual issue at the preliminaryinjunction stage; this issue will benefit from a more
developed record, which the court will duly consider at
communities they serve.
This is a problem because HB 57
privileges at a hospital in the vicinity of the clinic
hospital from which they seek admitting privileges.
e.g., Baptist Health Bylaws (Doc. No. 43-13) Ex. 25 at 9
“maintain a practice and residence within a reasonable
distance to the Baptist Health hospital at which he or
she practices”); Ayers Decl. (Doc. No. 4-4) Ex. C ¶ 23
(relating Jackson Hospital’s requirement that physicians
with staff privileges be located close enough to the
hospital to provide both continuous care to patients and
emergency room coverage).
The defendants argue that the
plaintiffs should persuade their doctors to move their
residences to comply with this requirement or hire new
But the plaintiffs have submitted substantial
threats targeted at abortion providers makes it nearly
impossible for them to find doctors willing to live near
The record therefore currently reflects that, as they
imposed by HB 57, unless it is enjoined, the plaintiffs
will be unable to provide abortion services once the law
2. “Doctors and others who provide abortion care are
harassed at their homes, picketed at their private
practices, and targeted online.” Gray Decl. (Doc. No.
47) Ex. A ¶ 4.
The West Alabama Women’s Center in
Tuscaloosa, for example, has faced gun shots through its
windows, bomb threats, and, on one occasion, a man
attempted to drive his car through the clinic. Id. In
1997, the clinic was set on fire.
clinic in Birmingham was bombed, killing an off-duty
police officer who was working there as a security guard.
Nationwide, four doctors who provided abortions have been
targeted and murdered because of their work. Id. ¶ 5. A
clinic physician at RHS recently quit because someone had
posted her home address, phone number, and the addresses
and phone numbers of her family members, on a website
encouraging harassment of abortion providers.
Decl. (Doc. No. 4-4) Ex. C ¶ 8.
plaintiffs have standing to bring this lawsuit on behalf
of themselves, their staff, and their patients.
to bring a claim on behalf of a third party, as the
plaintiffs do for their claim that HB 57 threatens the
substantive-due-process rights of their patients, the
plaintiffs must satisfy three requirements: (1) they must
relationship with the third party; and (3) there must be
some obstacle or hindrance to the third party’s ability
to bring the claim on its own behalf.
Wulff, 428 U.S. 106, 112-16 (1976) (plurality opinion).
The plaintiffs face imminent criminal prosecution if
they continue to perform abortions after July 1.
a “real and immediate” threat, neither “imagin[ed]” nor
Summit Med. Assocs., P.C. v. James, 984
F. Supp. 1404, 1426 (M.D. Ala. 1998) (Thompson, J.)
(quoting O’Shea v. Littleton, 414 U.S. 488, 494 (1974))
remanded sub nom. Summit Med. Assocs., P.C. v. Pryor, 180
F.3d 1326 (11th Cir. 1999).
The threat is particularly
credible since the State has confirmed that the criminal
plaintiffs have thus, so far, shown an injury sufficient
to create an Article III case or controversy.
See Doe v.
Bolton, 410 U.S. 179, 188 (1973) (finding physicians
challenging an abortion statute had standing to do so
“despite the fact that the record does not disclose that
any one of them has been prosecuted, or threatened with
prosecution.... They should not be required to await and
undergo a criminal prosecution as the sole means of
Cincinnati, Inc. v. City of Cincinnati, 822 F.2d 1390,
1396 (6th Cir. 1987) (same).
As for the second and third requirements, federal
standing to assert the claims of its patients.
(adjudicating challenge to abortion statute brought by
abortion provider on his patients’ behalf); Okpalobi v.
Foster, 190 F.3d 337, 353 (5th Cir. 1999) (same), vacated
on other grounds on reh’g en banc, 244 F.3d 405 (5th Cir.
recognized that the closeness of the relationship between
an abortion physician and his patients is “patent.”
U.S. at 117 (“Aside from the woman herself ... the
constitutionality of the State’s interference with, or
The Court also identified two obstacles to
the patients’ litigation of their rights: aversion to
having personal reproductive choices made public and the
“imminent mootness” of any one woman’s claim.
considerations are equally applicable to the case at
Plaintiffs assert the right of their patients to
have an abortion free from any undue burden; abortion
providers are inextricably entwined in the exercise of
And while one might expect that the public
opprobrium leveled at women who have abortions would have
softened since the Court decided Singleton in 1976, the
plaintiffs’ evidence, at this time, demonstrates that
this is not the case.
Accordingly, the plaintiffs’
assertion of their patients’ claims is proper.3
The defendants argue it is improper for the
plaintiffs to litigate the substantive-due-process claims
of their patients because the economic and liberty
interests of the plaintiffs conflict with their patients’
interests in a safe, healthy abortion-–an interest that
the defendants assert is advanced by the staff-privileges
requirement. But where the requirements for third-party
standing are satisfied, courts have found this to be
constitutional rights will be well represented by the
plaintiffs. See Charles v. Carey, 627 F.2d 772, 779 n.
10 (7th Cir. 1980) (rejecting a similar argument and
allowing an abortion provider to assert third-party
standing for his patients); Okpalobi, 190 F.3d at 352
(same). The court agrees that the test for third-party
standing already protects against a “wolves ...
guard[ing] the ... sheep” scenario and that the
plaintiffs “will adequately represent the absent women’s
Okpalobi, 190 F.3d at 352
(quotations and citations omitted).
Substantial Likelihood of Success on the Merits
Though the plaintiffs have put forth four theories
for relief, the court need consider only one in order to
resolve this motion.
The court is persuaded that the
plaintiffs are likely to succeed in their argument that
the staff-privileges requirement would impose an undue
burden on a woman’s right to choose abortion, thereby
impeding on the Fourteenth Amendment right to privacy.
terminate her pregnancy.
This right, derived from the
Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), which left in
tact the essential holding of Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113
This right is not limitless, however; the State
has legitimate interests in protecting the health of the
woman and the potential life of a fetus.
the Court in Casey developed a standard to distinguish
regulation that violates due process.
The Court held
that when a regulation imposes a “substantial obstacle in
the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable
fetus,” it unduly burdens the right to choose abortion.
Id. at 877.
And “where state regulation imposes an undue
burden ... the power of the State reach[es] into the
Id. at 874.
Thus, even “a statute which ...
further[s] the interest in potential life or some other
valid state interest,” but “has the effect of placing a
substantial obstacle in the path of a woman’s choice
cannot be considered a permissible means of serving its
Id. at 877.
On the other hand,
that pose incidental inconvenience–-are valid so long as
they do not create a substantial obstacle to a woman’s
exercise of her due process right.
Id. at 883.4
4. The State makes much of the stringency with which
courts review a facial challenge to legislation. But as
this court explained in Summit Medical, 984 F. Supp. at
regulation on undue-burden grounds need not show that the
The plaintiffs assert that it is impossible for them
to comply with the staff-privileges requirement that this
law would impose.
Thus, based on the record now before
the court, the law’s inevitable impact seems to be that
three of Alabama’s five licensed abortion clinics would
have to cease performing abortions.
Only two clinics
would remain–-one in Huntsville and one in Tuscaloosa–while the rest of the State, including the metropolitan
areas of Montgomery, Birmingham, and Mobile, would have
no licensed abortion providers at all.
would add not only the onus of distance for most women in
Alabama (women in some parts of the State could have to
travel up to 200 miles in order to obtain an in-state
abortion), but also the accompanying burden of increased
As a majority of the plaintiffs’ patients
law is unconstitutional in every possible application.
Rather, as the Supreme Court stated in Casey, the test is
whether, “in a large fraction of the cases in which [the
law] is relevant, it will operate as a substantial
obstacle to a woman’s choice to undergo an abortion.”
Id. (emphasis in original) (quoting Casey, 505 U.S. at
are poor and many do not have any access to a car, it
appears that, for a significant number of women, this
insurmountable barrier to obtaining an abortion.5 Studies
presented by Dr. Stanley K. Henshaw, a researcher in the
field of reproductive health care, are consistent with
the common-sense inference that significant increases in
terminate her pregnancy.6
5. Staci Fox testified that the majority of her
patients at PPSE are at 130 % of the poverty level or
less, which means that they earn less than $ 1250 each
month. Fox Decl. (Doc. No. 4-2) Ex. B ¶ 36. Fox attests
that many of them do not own cars, and if they do, would
struggle to pay for gas to travel to a distant clinic.
June Ayers likewise stated that the majority of
RHS’s patients are at 130 % of the poverty level or less
and that many do not own cars. Ayers Decl. (Doc. No. 43) Ex. C ¶ 26.
Dr. Henshaw describes a number of studies
connecting the availability of abortion providers with
the number of abortions.
One such study focused on a
Texas law that had the effect of reducing the State’s
abortion providers such that the average distance a woman
had to travel to obtain an abortion increased from 33
miles to 252 miles. Henshaw Decl. (Doc. No. 4-7) Ex. F
The State argues that, even if HB 57 does cause the
plaintiffs’ clinics to cease abortion services, it will
not impose an undue burden because patients can still
Tuscaloosa, as well as to clinics in Columbus, Georgia
(which is approximately 85 miles from Montgomery) and
Pensacola, Florida (which is approximately 70 miles from
However, that a woman has some conceivable
opportunity to exercise her right does not mean that a
substantial obstacle to the exercise of that right is not
imposed; nor can a serious burden be ignored because some
women of means may be able to surmount this obstacle
while poorer women (who constitute a majority of the
plaintiffs’ patients and thus a “large fraction” of those
¶ 4. The study estimated that, over the course of three
years, 6631 abortions did not take place that otherwise
would have occured. Id. ¶ 5. Dr. Henshaw also describes
a Georgia study that found that, for every 10 miles from
Atlanta, where all of the major abortion providers were
located at the time, there was a decline of 6.7 abortions
per 1000 live births. Id. ¶ 6.
affected by this law) cannot.
Casey, 505 U.S. at 895.
This is simply not what Casey provides.
See Casey, 505
abortions are not married or could easily comply with the
requirement where “the significant number of women who
fear for their safety ... [we]re likely to be deterred
Commonweath had outlawed abortion in all cases.”).
this way, abortion jurisprudence mirrors a multitude of
other contexts in which our courts have found that, even
constitutionally protected choice exists, a burden on a
right can so impair it as to impermissibly compromise it.
See, e.g., Anderson v. Celebrezze, 460 U.S. 780 (1983)
(concluding that state election requirement placed an
unconstitutional burden on voters’ freedom of choice and
freedom of association); United States v. Jackson, 390
U.S. 570, 582-85 (1968) (finding that an impermissible
burden existed where law had the effect of discouraging
the exercise of Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights).
Consistent with this analysis, other federal courts
substantial portion of abortion providers in the State
can constitute a substantial obstacle to a woman’s right
to seek an abortion.
See, e.g., Okpalobi, 190 F.3d at
357 (finding an undue burden where a law would force the
providers of approximately 80 % of abortions in the State
to discontinue their abortion practices); Jackson v.
Women’s Health Org. v. Currier, ___ F. Supp. 2d ___, ___,
(Jordan, J.) (finding an undue burden where a law would
cause the only known abortion provider in the State to
close); see also Tucson Woman’s Clinic v. Eden, 379 F.3d
531, 542 (9th Cir. 2004) (“[A] reasonable factfinder
could certainly conclude ... that, by increasing the cost
of abortion and limiting the supply of abortion providers
and hours during which they can provide abortions, [the
law at issue] imposes a substantial obstacle to women
seeking abortions at those practices and clinics.”).
Supreme Court has also implied that a regulation’s impact
on the availability of abortion providers and potential
to increase the distance a woman must travel to obtain an
abortion factors into the undue burden analysis.
Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 974 (1997) (reasoning
that “no woman seeking an abortion would be required by
the new law to travel to a different facility than was
previously available” in concluding that the law at issue
did not create a substantial obstacle to abortion).
Those courts that have upheld laws that would limit
the availability of abortion providers have taken pains
to emphasize that women could still obtain abortions
finding that no substantial obstacle existed.
Women’s Med. Prof’l Corp. v. Baird, 438 F.3d 595, 605
(6th Cir. 2006) (finding no undue burden where a law
would cause a Dayton, Ohio abortion clinic to close, but
Cleveland, and Akron, thus allowing potential patients to
obtain abortions in state “within a reasonable distance
[45-to-55 miles] from the Dayton clinic”); Greenville
Women’s Clinic v. Bryant, 222 F.3d 157, 165 (4th Cir.
contain[ed] evidence from several abortion providers,
only one of which would be adversely affected in any
significant way in providing abortion services,” and the
women near the one clinic that would close could obtain
abortion services at an in-state clinic 70 miles away).
The State’s argument that a woman can obtain an
abortion by traveling to clinics in Florida or Georgia
raises a further concern acknowledged by the district
prospect of “a patchwork system where constitutional
rights are available in some states but not others.”
F. Supp. 2d at ___, 2013 WL 1624365, at *5.
clinics in operation, it is telling that the State must
resort at all to suggesting that women travel across the
Alabama border to exercise their constitutional rights.
impossibility of procuring abortion doctors who can meet
the staff-privileges requirement, the law threatens a
constantly struggle under threat of closure or ceasing
services to maintain a medical staff that is qualified
under the law.7 Such pressure could render the consistent
provision of abortion services in Alabama a Sisyphean
The number of abortion clinics in Alabama has
7. The State emphasizes that two Alabama clinics did
not join this suit and ostensibly can comply with the
requirements of HB 57.
One of those clinics is West
Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa.
Clinic Director of the West Alabama Women’s Center
testified that, after that clinic’s sole physician, a 74year-old who happens to have staff privileges because he
maintains a broader gynecologic practice, retires, she
“honestly do[es] not know how the clinic will find
another doctor to take his place at all, let alone
someone who lives nearby and has staff privileges at a
local hospital.” Gray Decl. (Doc. No. 47) Ex. A ¶ 3.
Thus, “[i]f this requirement is not struck down, [she is]
virtually certain that when he retires the clinic will
have to shut down too.” Id.
already dwindled from seven to five in recent years.
Thus, while the court’s decision today hinges only on the
three clinics imminently impacted by HB 57, the evidence
raises the specter of an Alabama in which women are
unable to exercise this due-process right at all.
The State also leans heavily on its evidence that the
two Alabama clinics that are not plaintiffs in this case
performed 4954 of the abortions in this State in 2012,
However, that women in certain parts of the State will
still benefit from the availability of abortion clinics
at manageable distances is immaterial to the question of
whether a substantial obstacle is imposed for women for
whom this is not the case.
Responding to an argument
that a spousal consent requirement would pose “almost no
burden at all for the vast majority of women seeking
abortions,” the Court in Casey explained, “The analysis
does not end with the one percent of women upon whom the
statute operates; it begins there....
The proper focus
of constitutional inquiry is the group for whom the law
is a restriction, not the group for whom the law is
Casey, 505 U.S. at 894.
Thus, the State’s
argument that this law will not (for now) work to impair
the rights of many Alabama women has no bearing on
whether it impermissibly impairs the rights of those who
will feel its effects.
Thus, as the plaintiffs have demonstrated that the
inevitable effect of HB 57 would be that the majority of
abortions, and as this court agrees, for now, that this
drastic limitation in the availability of providers would
impose a substantial obstacle to a woman’s right to
choose abortion, the plaintiffs have shown a substantial
likelihood of success on the merits of this claim.
imminent: as the current record shows, they cannot comply
equitable relief, must either stop providing abortions or
confront criminal liability and license revocation. Lest
there be any doubt, the State has assured the court that
the criminal liability provisions will go into effect as
planned on July 1.
If the plaintiffs continue in their
normal course of business, there is thus a real and
imminent threat of prosecution.
The director of RHS
asserts that if this law goes into effect she will not
only have to cease providing abortions, but will “have no
choice” but to close her business altogether.
Decl. (Doc. No. 4-3) Ex. C ¶¶ 3, 24.
face irreparable harm if HB 57 is not enjoined.
Magee, No. 2:11cv982-MHT, 2011 WL 5878363, at *3 (finding
likelihood of irreparable harm where plaintiffs faced
criminal and civil liability if a law was not enjoined);
Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights v. Deal, 793 F.
Supp. 2d 1317, 1340 (N.D. Ga. 2011) (Thrash, J.) (finding
irreparable harm where plaintiffs would be subject to
criminal penalties), aff'd in part, rev'd in part on
Alliance for Human Rights v. Governor of Georgia, 691
Bronson, 591 F. Supp. 2d 1272, 1307 (S.D. Fla. 2008)
(Gold, J.) (finding plaintiffs demonstrated irreparable
harm where the preponderance of the evidence showed they
would have to close their businesses as a result of the
law); Mid-Fla Coin Exchange v. Griffin, 529 F. Supp.
virtual extinction if they are forced to comply with the
Furthermore, according to the current record, if the
Alabama women in the southern part of the State would
have to travel up to 200 miles each way to obtain an instate abortion, and they would have to do this twice:
once for a counseling session and again at least 24-hours
later for the abortion procedure.
The plaintiffs have
submitted evidence showing that, for many Alabama women,
the increase in the burden of travel will be so great
that they will not obtain an abortion at all. Henshaw
Decl. (Doc. No. 4-7) Ex. F ¶ 15.
And the plaintiffs’
evidence shows that women who carry unwanted pregnancies
to term are at increased risk of death and childbirth
Fine Decl. (Doc. No. 4-4) Ex. D ¶ 36.
Many Alabama women who are able to receive an abortion,
but who have to travel farther due to the effects of HB
57, would wait until later in their pregnancy term to
heightened risk of medical complication.
Id. at ¶ 34;
see Harris v. Bd. of Supervisors, 366 F.3d 754, 766 (9th
irreparable harm by establishing likelihood of suffering
Finally, it appears from the current record that the
constitutionally protected privacy of the plaintiffs’
“[T]he right of privacy must be carefully
guarded for once an infringement has occurred it cannot
be undone by monetary relief.”
Deerfield Med. Ctr. v.
City of Deerfield Beach, 661 F.2d 328, 338 (5th Cir. Unit
constitutional right to privacy was threatened by ban on
abortion facilities “mandates a finding of irreparable
injury”); see also Ne. Florida Chapter of Ass’n of Gen.
Contractors of America v. City of Jacksonville, Fla., 896
F.2d 1283, 1285 (11th Cir. 1990) (noting the general rule
constitute irreparable harm).
The record here supports
Thus, for all these reasons, the
plaintiffs have met their burden of showing injunctive
relief is needed to avoid irreparable injury.
Balance of the Hardships
The defendants assert that the grant of a temporary
threat to women’s health is posed absent this law, and,
second, because a law passed by the legislature will not
be in effect.
As to the first harm, the record remains
presented whether the status quo does, in fact, pose a
risk to the health of women seeking abortions, and the
particularly given the temporary nature of this order.
See Magee, No. 2:11cv982-MHT, 2011 WL 5878363, at *3
(finding that “any harm to the defendants is slight ...
8. The defendants present evidence that the Alabama
Department of Public Health has issued 66 statements of
deficiencies to 12 different clinics in the last 15
years. It is unclear how significant these deficiencies
were and whether they pose a current threat. While the
defendants present more detailed evidence of poor care at
four particular facilities, three of those facilities are
no longer in operation and therefore do not pose any
As for the one that remains in
operation, RHS, the defendants refer only to a 2006
incident and give the court no reason to believe that
this incident was not isolated, nor any reason to believe
that serious deficiencies posing a threat to women’s
health exist at RHS today.
providing abortions and potentially close their doors
Meanwhile, women seeking an abortion will
face a substantial new obstacle in obtaining one, and
therefore stand to suffer a deprivation of constitutional
rights as well as the numerous health risks attendant to
Thus, while the plaintiffs can show
speculative harms and the rather abstract injury posed by
a short delay in the implementation of HB 57.
balance of hardships weighs heavily in the plaintiffs’
The court finds that it is in the public interest to
preserve the status quo and give the court an opportunity
subjecting the plaintiffs, their patients, or the public
at large to any of its potential harms.
This grant of temporary relief is based solely on the
limited record now before the court.
The court does not,
with this opinion, forecast the outcome of this case, and
this opinion should not be interpreted as such.
Accordingly, it is ORDERED as follows:
(1) Plaintiffs Planned Parenthood Southeast, Inc.,
Reproductive Health Services, and June Ayers’s motion
for a temporary restraining order (Doc. No. 3) is
(2) Defendants Robert Bentley, Luther Strange, Ellen
Brooks, Brandon K. Falls, Ashley Rich, Donald E.
Williamson, George C. Smith, Jr., James E. West, and
Martha Lavender, and all those acting in concert with
them, are ENJOINED from:
HB 57, and
officials who are responsible for enforcing the
requirements of HB 57 § 4(c) of this temporary
(3) This injunction shall expire on July 12, 2013, at
DONE, this the 28th day of June, 2013, at 2:45 p.m.
/s/ Myron H. Thompson
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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