On March 4, 2014, the Alabama House passed a bill that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which critics of the bill say can happen about six weeks into a pregnancy. Similar legislation in North Dakota and Arkansas has been enacted but blocked by courts pending lawsuits.
On April 9, 2013, Gov. Robert Bentley (R) signed a law establishing new regulations on abortion clinics that supporters say will enhance safety for patients. The bill requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and abortion clinics to meet the same safety standards of ambulatory surgical centers. Opponents say the law is aimed at closing the state’s clinics. On June 11, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit to block enforcement of the law, calling it “wholly unnecessary and unreasonable.”
On July 23, 2013, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of the admitting-privileges requirement. That part of the law is barred until March 14, 2014, a month after oral arguments are scheduled in the Planned Parenthood-ACLU lawsuit.