Federal Judge: Right to Abortion Just As Important As Right to Guns

Source: Elliot McLaughlin/CNN

What if Alabama passed a law that shut down all but two of the state’s guns-and-ammo stores?

“The defenders of this law would be called upon to do a heck of a lot of explaining — and rightly so in the face of an effect so severe,” U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson wrote this week in a 172-page majority opinion striking down a provision of state law restricting abortions.

The Women’s Health and Safety Act of 2013 navigated the Alabama Legislature last year, garnering the governor’s signature in April 2013, but Thompson quickly took issue with a provision requiring that doctors at abortion clinics have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

The state had argued the measure is designed to protect the health of a patient. The plaintiffs called it medically unnecessary due to the safety of abortion procedures and said the law would force three of the state’s five clinics to shut down.

Days after federal judges blocked Wisconsin and North Dakota from enforcing new abortion laws, Thompson issued a July 2013 order temporarily barring Alabama from enforcing the provision that many observers considered the linchpin in the state law.

Revisiting the issue in the court’s Monday ruling, Thompson said, “The court was struck by a parallel in some respects between the right of women to decide to terminate a pregnancy and the right of the individual to keep and bear firearms, including handguns, in her home for the purposes of self-defense.”

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