In the recent ruling that was handed down yesterday there was an absolutely scathing report by Judge Myron Thompson on the anti choice protesters in Alabama. Huntsville was particularly highlighted in the ruling, and Judge Thompson scolds the protesters for their actions and exposes the truth about their tactics.
But lets talk a moment about the ruling itself. In a great victory for Alabama women a part of the TRAP laws was ruled as unconstitutional. Specifically the part of the law that required abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges. On the surface it would appear that the law was designed to protect women and expedite medical care in the event of an emergency (which, as pointed out by the court, is extremely rare. ) But considering that other outpatient procedures and surgeries, for example oral surgery which has a much higher complication rate, do not require these measures it becomes evident that abortion providers are being singled out. Consider also that most abortion providers live out of state or in a different county than the clinics for their own safety, which would bar them from gaining those privileges. Add on the fact that admitting privileges at a local hospital has its own set of requirements such as a minimum number of admissions per year and its easy to see that this would be an almost impossible requirement for abortion providers to meet. It could have shut down 3 out of 4 of the clinics that are currently up and running.
But the Judge saw the bill for what it was, a veiled attempt to close down clinics under the guise of safety for women. He also took it further to publicly chastise the anti choice protesters for their actions. He said:
“Although the vast majority of those who oppose abortion do so in nonviolent ways, this court cannot overlook the backdrop to this case: a history of severe violence against abortion providers in Alabama and the surrounding region. […]The effect that this climate of violence, harassment, and hostility has on abortion providers in Alabama was palpable at the trial in this case. In their testimony, discussed at length below, the doctors described their daily fears for their professional livelihoods as well as their personal safety. One of the physicians described being followed and threatened by abortion opponents, and fearing for herself, her spouse, and her children every day that she goes to work in Alabama. Indeed, that fear was driven home to this court even in the conduct of the trial itself: in order to protect their identities, the doctors were referred to by pseudonyms throughout the case and would testify in open court only from behind a black curtain.”
Huntsville was of particular interest as it was mentioned over a dozen times. Judge Thompson had this to say about them protesting outside of one of our doctors private practices:
“The protesters in Huntsville were not targeting abortion patients and trying to dissuade them from going through the procedure, instead, they were approaching women who sought to carry their pregnancies to term. Rather than attempting to change general public perceptions on the issue of abortions or dissuade women from obtaining abortions, the court must infer that these protesters sought to threaten economic destruction for any doctor who enabled the provision of abortion within the city. They succeeded twice in ending a doctor’s obstetric practice.”
He went on to say the the Huntsville protesters “go beyond the run-of-the-mill political protests prompted by an issue as morally and politically charged as abortion.” He didn’t name names in his ruling, but we all know he was talking about the good Rev. Henderson and his band of merry do gooders. And apparently their little feelings are hurt and they are just shocked that anyone would have anything bad to say about them. After all they only harass everyone from the patients to unsuspecting citizens buying groceries at a local Publix.
But we are ecstatic about the ruling and everything it included. The truth is out about these so call peaceful protesters, and I am sure there will be some backlash. There have already been talks of appeals and the Governor has vowed to back the Attorney General in that appeal. I say go ahead. Make my day. If you would like to read the ruling in all its glory, here is the link: http://www.scribd.com/mobile/doc/235820667?width=360