Planned Parenthood: Governor Bentley Puts Alabama Women at Risk with Two New “Absolutely Unacceptable” Laws
Planned Parenthood condemned new legislation signed by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley that will interfere with the deeply personal decision to end a pregnancy. One new law will force women to wait longer to access a safe and legal abortion by doubling the government-imposed mandatory delay for women seeking abortion to 48-hours. The other jeopardizes young women’s health by imposing incredibly burdensome documentation requirements on minors who have the consent of their parents that will delay and could impede their access to abortion all together. It also effectively eliminates the option of a judicial bypass for teens who need to access safe and legal reproductive health care confidentially. The new, intrusive laws are scheduled to take effect this summer.
“Ensuring the health and safety of every single one of our patients is central to Planned Parenthood’s mission. These absolutely unacceptable laws were written by politicians, against the advice of Alabama doctors, with the end goal of ending safe and legal abortion in Alabama,” said Staci Fox, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, a nonprofit health care provider caring for more than 16,000 patients in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.
Planned Parenthood — as well as leading national medical associations including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists — opposes parental consent laws because research has shown they do not increase parental involvement, do not foster healthy communication, and in fact can be very detrimental to the health and safety of young women. Furthermore, research has shown state laws that impose government-mandated delays force abortion later in pregnancy and lead some women to travel out of state for a safe and legal procedure.
“We all want our daughters to be safe, and we all expect our children to talk to us about these important issues,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “The good news is that most teens do go to their parents when faced with an unintended pregnancy. But in the real world, some come from homes where they can’t talk to their parents for fear of being forced to leave their home, abuse, or worse. A law like this could come between these young women and the safe medical care they need.”
Last year, Planned Parenthood Southeast, represented by attorneys from Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the ACLU and the Montgomery firm Sabel & Sabel, filed suit in federal court against a 2013 state law that requires doctors who provide abortion to obtain staff privileges at local hospitals. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association have opposed legislation similar to the 2013 Alabama law, which is currently blocked from enforcement while Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit proceeds. A trial on the 2013 law is scheduled to begin May 19.
“In choosing to further restrict women’s access to health care this year, politicians in Montgomery have done nothing to address the very real and urgent health care challenges Planned Parenthood works to improve every day through compassionate, respectful health care services and education for women across the state,” Fox continued. Women in Alabama have the second highest rate of heart disease deaths across all fifty states, and the National Women’s Law Center estimates 124,000 women will not get health care coverage in Alabama because state legislators refuse to expand Medicaid as allowed under the Affordable Care Act.###
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
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