Alabama's Abortion Ban Blocked by a Federal Judge

The near-total ban was deemed unconstitutional, setting up a potential showdown in the Supreme Court

Alabama abortion
Photo: Julie Bennett/Getty

A federal judge has blocked Alabama’s ban on abortions, which would have stopped abortion at all stages of pregnancy and criminalized doctors who performed the procedure.

The ban, which Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey had signed into law in May, would have gone into effect on Nov. 15. The only exceptions would have been for cases where the mother’s life is at risk, and there would be no concessions for rape or incest.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued the temporary block on Tuesday, writing that the ban “violates the right of an individual to privacy” and “diminishes the capacity of women to act in society, and to make reproductive decisions.”

Thompson also added that the ban “defies the United States Constitution,” namely the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment which was determined in the landmark Roe v. Wade case.

Thompson’s decision sets up a possible showdown in the Supreme Court with the potential to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshal plainly stated that this block “was not unexpected” and works towards the goal of reaching the Supreme Court.

“As we have stated before, the States 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 said in a statement, NBC News reported.

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The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Alabama and Planned Parenthood Federation of America had jointly sued over the abortion ban. The ACLU celebrated the block in a tweet.

“Abortion remains legal in Alabama,” Randall Marshall, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, said in a statement, The New York Times reported. “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. This ill-advised law will cost taxpayers more money.”

Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Utah had also attempted to enact bans on abortions after six weeks, but all have been blocked.

Alexis McGill Johnson, the acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood issued a statement:

“Today’s victory means people can still access the health care they need across Alabama — for now,” she said. “We will continue to fight to ensure that everyone can access health care — including safe, legal abortion.”

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