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Lawyers want to know why Montgomery judge blocked birth center regulations


Lawyers want to know why Montgomery judge blocked birth center regulations

Oct 03, 2023 | 7:59 am ET
By Alander Rocha
Lawyers want to know why Montgomery judge blocked birth center regulations
JaTaune Bosby, executive director of ACLU of Alabama, discusses ACLU's lawsuit against the Alabama Public Health Department on Aug. 8, 2023 in front of the Mothers of Gynecology Monument in Montgomery. (Alander Rocha/Alabama Reflector)

Birth centers trying to stop the implementation of regulations won a victory Saturday when Montgomery Circuit Court Judge Greg Griffin issued an injunction against them.

Now, they want Griffin to explain his reasons.

Griffin blocked the rules, scheduled to go into effect on Oct. 15, after a six-hour hearing on Friday. But Griffin order did not include an opinion or an discussion of his thinking.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs asked Griffin Monday file a supplemental order with an opinion.

Montgomery judge blocks Alabama birth center regulations from taking effect

“Although Plaintiffs believe the preliminary injunction already entered by the Court complies with Rule 65(d)(2), to assure compliance, Plaintiffs respectfully request that the Court issue a supplemental order including further findings of fact and conclusions of law,” the motion stated.

Rule 65(d)(2) states that every order granting an injunction “shall set forth the reasons for its issuance; shall be specific in terms; [and] shall describe in reasonable detail, and not by reference to the complaint or other document, the act or acts sought to be restrained.”

The motion, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Reproductive Freedom Project late Monday morning, said that plaintiffs were unable to submit a proposed order that included detailed proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law because of time constraints. The hearing finished after 4 p.m. on Friday. Griffin ruled shortly before 10 a.m. Saturday.

The three-page order from Griffin prevents ADPH from “refusing to timely license (including but not limited to refusing to timely issue temporary or interim licenses to) freestanding birth centers operating in the midwifery model of care . . . that can demonstrate substantial compliance with the standards set out by the American Association of Birth Centers and can satisfy the remaining statutory requirements.” 

It is not clear whether ADPH will appeal the ruling. Arrol Sheehan, public information officer for ADPH, said they do not comment on pending litigation. A request for comment was left Monday with the Attorney General’s office.