Alabama's Near-Total Abortion Ban Has Been Temporarily Blocked

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Like all of the draconian abortion bans passed by Republican-led states this past year, Alabama’s almost near-total ban has been temporarily blocked from going into effect by a federal judge.

The clearly unconstitutional ban, which was signed into law in May by Governor Kay Ivey and slated to go into effect on November 15, made it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion, including in cases of pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. It was quickly the target of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union’s Alabama chapter as well as Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates. On Tuesday, District Judge Myron Thompson blocked it from being implemented while the lawsuit winds its way through the courts.

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As Thompson noted in his order, according to AL.com, “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, and thus that it violates her constitutional rights.”

Alabama’s ban is only the latest state-based abortion ban to be blocked from going into effect due to its likely unconstitutionality. At the beginning of the month, a federal judge also blocked, for the time being, Georgia’s arbitrary ban from going into effect. As the ACLU noted in a tweet, “None of the state abortion bans passed earlier this year are in effect.”

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“This is not only a victory for the people of Alabama—it’s a victory for the entire nation,” said Staci Fox, the president of Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates, in response to the temporary injunction. “We said it from the start: this ban is blatantly unconstitutional and we will fight it every step of the way. We will continue fighting this law in court until it is permanently blocked and we will work every day to make sure that abortion remains safe, legal, and available in Alabama.”

Still, with the Supreme Court announcing that it will take up Gee v. June Medical Services, a case over the constitutionality of a Louisiana law that requires doctors performing abortions to have admissions privileges at a local hospital—and is nearly identical to a Texas case decided by the court in 2016—these temporary victories may be short-lived.

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