BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A judge is considering the state’s attempt to shut down what it says is an illegal abortion clinic still operating more than a year after it agreed to close for health violations.
Jefferson County Circuit Judge Joseph L. Boohaker set a hearing for Friday to consider arguments over New Woman All Women Health Care, the scene of a deadly bombing 15 years ago.
The Alabama Department of Public Health sued to close the clinic in March, arguing the business was performing abortions illegally despite agreeing last year to shut down over a series of regulatory problems.
Companies and individuals sued by the state have filed a series of motions asking a judge to dismiss the case. They deny the business, also known as New Women’s Inc., is operating illegally as an abortion clinic.
Boohaker will hear arguments on whether to throw out the state’s lawsuit, an aide said.
The clinic is the same one where a Birmingham police officer died in a 1998 bombing that critically injured a nurse. Eric Rudolph is serving a life sentence for that blast and for the 1996 Olympic bombing in Atlanta.
The state issued a more than 70-page report last year accusing the clinic of violating numerous rules, including making errors in delivering medication to patients and failing to ensure that staff was properly trained to provide safe patient care. The state said the clinic failed to ensure that physicians had proper documentation showing they were qualified to perform abortions.
While clinic operators reached an agreement with health officials to close down in April 2012, state officials say it continued operating. The clinic’s website offered details on abortions, including prices for various options, on Thursday, and a worker answered the phone.
The Birmingham clinic was run for years by Diane Derzis, who is fighting Mississippi officials over their attempt to shut down her Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state’s only abortion clinic.
Derzis has filed court papers in the Alabama case saying she doesn’t own the Birmingham property or have anything to do with any medical procedures being conducted there.
Alabama has five other licensed abortion clinics, but Gov. Robert Bentley signed regulations recently that require them to use only doctors who have approval to admit patients to hospitals in the same city. Planned Parenthood, which operates clinics in Birmingham and Mobile, has said the law would make it difficult for clinics to continue operating.
The new Alabama law is similar to the one at the center of Derzis’ fight with officials in Mississippi.