Meridian Star

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August 4, 2013

State of Ala trying again to close abortion clinic



Government lawyers contend Derzis and associates have kept the Birmingham clinic going by switching names on legal documents. For a time they even used old websites and phone numbers to continue advertising the business, the state said.

"To allow the defendants to collectively act in this manner so as to avoid the board's licensing authority and oversight would disserve the board's interests by developing a blueprint for other similarly motivated persons and entities," the state argued in legal documents.

A state attorney handling the case declined to comment before the hearing. Lawyers say the outcome of the case shouldn't affect Alabama's four other abortion clinics.

Derzis argues the building is the office of Norman, described in court papers as renting the building from a company owned by Derzis and using it to perform abortions.

"It's not an abortion clinic, it's a doctor's office," she said.

Derzis, in a sworn statement provided to Circuit Judge Joseph Boohaker, also said her Georgia-based All Women's Healthcare of Columbus leases staff members to Norman at the Birmingham location.

The state of Alabama is asking Boohaker to shut down the facility without a hearing that could delve into its operations.

An attorney for Derzis asked the judge to hold a hearing on whether the operation is subject to state regulation. The center could remain open if the judge rules it isn't covered by state statutes as a clinic.

Christian activists who oppose abortion have filed court documents siding with the state. They also are organizing a campaign on Twitter asking a judge to side with the state.

A bomb that detonated outside the clinic more than 15 years ago killed a Birmingham police officer and critically injured a nurse. Rudolph is serving a life sentence for the Birmingham bombing and for the 1996 Olympic park bombing in Atlanta.

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