On Tuesday, October 29, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked an Alabama abortion law from going into effect on November 15, 2019. The court ruled that it is one of the strictest abortion laws proposed in the country.
Although supporters expected the lower courts to block the law, they had hoped to use it to encourage the Supreme Court to reconsider the reproductive rights issue. Whether or not advocates of the strict abortion law felt it had a chance to pass at the highest court is unknown. But perhaps they at least got the court’s attention.
Abortion Is Illegal, Including Rape and Incest
The Alabama abortion law sought to criminalize any doctor that performs an abortion during any stage of the pregnancy. Doctors could receive up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion even in the case of rape or incest. The law did allow the termination of a pregnancy if the mother’s life was in danger.
District Judge Myron Thompson said that “Enforcement of the ban would yield serious and irreparable harm, violating the right to privacy and preventing women from obtaining abortions in Alabama.”
Judge Thompson was responsible for instituting a temporary injunction until the case can be resolved completely. This allows abortion clinics to continue providing their services in the state of Alabama until further notice.
Efforts to Overturn Roe v. Wade
The state’s attorney general Steve Marshall explains that the end goal of the Alabama abortion law is to overturn Roe v. Wade. “As we have stated before, the State’s objective is to advance our case to the US Supreme Court where we intend to submit evidence that supports our argument that Roe… [was] wrongly decided…”
Congresswoman Terri Collins, who was at the helm of the ban of abortion in Alabama, believes this is “the first of many steps on that legal journey” to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling. She, along with her fellow supporters, expect a fight and are prepared to keep pushing no matter the cost.
ACLU, Planned Parenthood Praise Ruling
The Alabama American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) along with Planned Parenthood were elated with the Supreme Court’s decision. Abortion provider and plaintiff Dr. Yashica Robinson believes “this win is critical to our patients and to healthcare providers like myself.”
Executive Director of the ACLU in Alabama Randall Marshall says, “The abortion care we provide is essential healthcare, and these ruthless attacks from anti-abortion politicians have no place in Alabama.” She also claims that the “ill-advised [abortion] law will cost taxpayers more money.”