A circuit judge recently filed an injunction blocking new Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) rules governing birth centers from taking effect.   

Montgomery Circuit Judge Greg Griffin filed the injunction on Saturday, barring ADPH from implementing highly protested rules further restricting state birth centers. The injunction will remain in place until the court decides on the ADPH rules.

ADPH passed the regulations for privately owned and operated birth centers in August despite an ongoing lawsuit challenging the rules.

Early in August, the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama filed a lawsuit on behalf of several doctors and midwives against ADPH.

For over a year, ADPH has courted a series of rules designed to regulate birth centers, drawing protest from birthing advocates nationwide.

The proposed rules would require birthing centers to acquire a hospital license and operate within 30 minutes of a hospital, among other things.

Opponents of the rules offer varying critiques, ranging from lack of accessible birthing care in rural areas, restrictions on those who do not want to labor in a hospital but cannot access a home birth, unrealistic and cost-prohibitive measures placed on birthing centers, and more.

Last year, ADPH also introduced similar regulations on birthing centers that those within the birthing community opposed. After saying it would address opponents' concerns, ADPH suggested the current rules, which are equally unacceptable to those assisting in out-of-hospital births.

Alabama previously had regulations for birthing centers, which it repealed in 2010 due to the lack of centers in the state.

Opponents said ADPH is proposing to essentially reinstate the previous rules that existed before midwives were permitted to deliver babies in Alabama, evidenced by the rules' antiquated language and terminology.

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