Before an hour ago, I couldn't have named one good thing to come out of Alabama off the top of my head, except maybe Helen Keller. But good news! Now I have one more thing: Last week, Judge Myron H. Thompson, a federal judge in that state, ruled that a new law requiring abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges—a common conservative tactic used to shut down clinics across the country—is unconstitutional.
That's news in and of itself, but the parallel that Thompson draws in explaining his decision is especially striking. Via the LA Times:
Thompson also said he was struck by the parallels between gun rights and abortion rights, which former New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse described as "a pairing no previous judicial opinion has made."
“[N]either right can be fully exercised without the assistance of someone else," the judge wrote. "The right to abortion cannot be exercised without a medical professional, and the right to keep and bear arms means little if there is no one from whom to acquire the handgun or ammunition.”
Imagine the outcry, he said, if Alabama regulated all but two gun stores out of existence.
Thompson meticulously demolished the state’s argument that such a law safeguards patient safety and functions as a way of ensuring medical competence among doctors. It does exactly the opposite, he said.
In order to have admitting privileges, he said, most hospitals require doctors to admit a certain number of patients per year. But complications from early abortions (the only kind performed in Alabama, where abortion after 20 weeks is illegal) are so “vanishingly rare,” as he put it, that such a quota could never be met.
If this is the tactic we need to take to successfully reinstate women's access to abortion in conservative states, slap my ass and call me a gun nut.