Both sides seek to avoid trial in abortion lawsuit

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The state government and three abortion clinics are asking a judge to decide the legality of Alabama’s new abortion doctor law without holding a trial.

Attorneys on both sides filed court papers Monday urging U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson to decide the case based on the legal arguments they are filing.

The new law requires clinics to use doctors who have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Three of the state’s five licensed clinics say they can’t meet the requirement and will stop performing abortions.

The state attorney general says the clinics can’t show that the law imposes an undue burden on them because two other Alabama clinics use doctors with admitting privileges.

According to court documents, about 10,000 abortions are performed in Alabama each year. Clinics in Tuscaloosa and Huntsville that have physicians with admitting privileges account for nearly two-thirds of the abortions. Clinics in Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile that are challenging the law perform about 3,600 annually.

Thompson has scheduled a hearing in the case for February. The judge has put the law on hold until he rules.

A federal appeals court recently allowed a similar law to take effect in Texas.

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