- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Ruling by end of July in Alabama abortion law

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A federal judge said Monday he intends to rule by the end of July on whether Alabama can enforce a new law requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have approval to admit patients to nearby hospitals.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson wrapped up a three-week trial Monday in Montgomery. He has put enforcement of the law on hold until he rules.

In closing arguments, American Civil Liberties Union attorney Alexa Kolbi-Molinas said the law will close three of five of the state’s abortion clinics because they use out-of-state doctors who can’t get admitting privileges.

She said eight other states now have laws similar to Alabama. “These laws are coming state by state and they are closing down clinics,” she said.

Alabama’s solicitor general, Andrew Brasher, said the traveling doctors used by the clinics haven’t tried to get admitting privileges and the clinics haven’t tried to recruit abortion doctors to move to Alabama, where it would be easier to get the privileges.

He also said clinics haven’t increased their payments to doctors of $70 to $80 per procedure to try to make recruiting easier.

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Tenn. VA facilities among longest for wait times

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A Veterans Affairs audit has found that two health care facilities in Tennessee have among the nation’s longest wait times for new patients to receive specialist care.

New patients at the Middle Tennessee Healthcare System had to wait 71 days for specialist care, ranking sixth-longest among all facilities. The Mountain Home facility near Johnson City ranked ninth, with a wait of 67 days.

The audit of 731 VA hospitals and large outpatient clinics around the country found that a 14-day goal for seeing first-time patients was unattainable given the growing demand among veterans for health care and poor planning. The VA has since abandoned that goal.

The audit flagged VA facilities in Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga and McMinnville for further review.

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4 Tenn. VA facilities flagged for further review

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