Federal court blocks Alabama abortion ban

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signs I’ve signed the last of the bills for the 2019 Legislative Session on Tuesday June 11.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signs I’ve signed the last of the bills for the 2019 Legislative Session on Tuesday June 11. | Twitter: Kay Ivey

A district court has blocked a recently signed Alabama law that would effectively ban abortions except for a life-threatening medical emergency.

Judge Myron Thompson of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Northern Division released an opinion on Tuesday blocking the law from taking effect.

In his granting of a preliminary injunction, Thompson argued that while the state has a valid interest in regulating abortion, it was unconstitutional to prohibit abortion “prior to fetal viability.”

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“The court is persuaded that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed in showing that the Act violates an individual’s constitutional right to obtain a pre-viability abortion,” wrote Thompson.

“The plaintiffs’ alleged injury is concrete and imminent. Enforcement of the ban would yield serious and irreparable harm, violating the right to privacy and preventing women from obtaining abortions in Alabama.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, which along with Planned Parenthood Federation of America brought the lawsuit against Alabama on behalf of state abortion providers, celebrated the injunction.

“As expected, the court has blocked the law and it will not go into effect. Abortion remains legal in Alabama,” stated ACLU of Alabama Executive Director Randall Marshall on Tuesday.

“The state’s repeated attempts to push abortion out of reach by enacting unconstitutional laws restricting abortions have already cost taxpayers nearly 2.5 million dollars. This ill-advised law will cost taxpayers more money.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, no relation to Randall Marshall, said in a statement released Tuesday that the court decision was “not unexpected.”

“As we have stated before, the State’s objective is to advance our case to the U.S. Supreme Court where we intend to submit evidence that supports our argument that Roe and Casey were wrongly decided and that the Constitution does not prohibit states from protecting unborn children from abortion,” he stated.

In May, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed House Bill 314, also known as the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, into law.

The law made it a felony to perform an abortion in nearly all circumstances, making it the strictest of a wave of pro-life state laws passed in 2019. 

Ivey said in a statement released at the time that she believed the law was “a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.”

“No matter one’s personal view on abortion, we can all recognize that, at least for the short term, this bill may similarly be unenforceable. As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court even when we disagree with their decisions,” added Ivey.  

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