ACLU, Planned Parenthood file lawsuit challenging Ala. near-total abortion ban

Updated: May. 24, 2019 at 11:27 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood are asking a federal judge to block an Alabama law banning nearly all abortions across the state.

The lawsuit, filed Friday on behalf of Alabama abortion providers, is seeking to overturn the state’s newly passed law, which makes performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony unless the mother’s health is in danger.

Despite being signed into law, the abortion legislation doesn’t go into effect for six months.

[MORE: Alabama abortion statistics for 2017]

“Make no mistake: Abortion remains – and will remain – safe and legal in Alabama. With this lawsuit, we are seeking a court order to make sure this law never takes effect,” said Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama. “We hope our state’s elected leaders take note and stop using taxpayer dollars on a legal gamble that they know is unconstitutional and unenforceable.”

The lawsuit comes amid nationwide opposition to the extreme ban and follows a week of protests throughout the country opposing state abortion bans.

Some conservatives are seeking to ignite legal fights through this law in the hopes of getting the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit the landmark 1973 decision that made the procedure legal.

Asked for comment, Gov. Kay Ivey’s office referred back to previous statements she’s made on the law and referred any additional questions to Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office. Marshall’s Office said he was reviewing the lawsuit and had no comment.

The legislation’s sponsor, Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, released a statement saying “We not only expected a challenge to Alabama’s pro-life law from ultra-liberal groups like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, we actually invited it. Our intent from the day this bill was drafted was to use it as a vehicle to challenge the constitutional abomination known as Roe v. Wade.

The ACLU said it could take up to three years before the U.S. Supreme Court were to take Alabama’s case. If the state lost in court, Marshall said the state could face legal fees ranging into the millions of dollars.

Kentucky, Georgia, Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri have also enacted laws that restrict abortion. A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked a Mississippi law that would ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

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