A federal judge ruled today that Alabama's abortion clinic law is unconstitutional. The law, passed last year, mandates that abortion doctors have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, and it would have closed three of the state's five abortion clinics. The law never went into effect, so the clinics have stayed open.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued the ruling, and in his opinion he wrote that the law violates a woman's right to choose. "The evidence compellingly demonstrates that the requirement would have the striking result of closing three of Alabama's five abortion clinics, clinics which perform only early abortions, long before viability," he wrote.

Planned Parenthood and pro-choice activists have long argued that there's no medical reason for abortion clinic doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, and that Republican state legislatures have passed laws like Alabama's solely to limit access to abortions.

A federal appeals court ruled a similar clinic law unconstitutional in Mississippi last week, and a federal judge in Texas will rule on the constitutionality of a host of abortion restrictions this week. In Alabama, the attorney general has promised to appeal today's ruling.

[Image via AP]