Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Alabama’s Near-Total Abortion Ban

October 29, 2019 by Dan McCue
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson. (Via U.S. Courts YouTube Channel)

A federal judge blocked an Alabama abortion ban Tuesday that would have made the procedure a felony at any stage of pregnancy in almost all cases.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, who was appointed to the bench by President Jimmy Carter and who presides in Montgomery, Alabama, issued a preliminary injunction blocking Alabama from enforcing the law, which would have called for a sentence of 10 years to life in prison for the abortion provider with no exceptions for rape or incest.

Alabama legislators approved the measure earlier this year, joining conservative lawmakers in other states who hoped to provoke a court challenge that would ultimately allow new conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme to reconsider Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed the law on May 15.

“To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious & that every life is a sacred gift from God,” Ivey said at the time.

Less than a week later, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union sued, asking the court to block an Alabama law that bans nearly all abortions and makes performing the procedure a felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison.

The law, which is considered the most stringent anti-abortion legislation in the nation, was set to take effect in November.

“Make no mistake: Abortion remains – and will remain – safe and legal in Alabama,” said Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, when the legal challenge was filed.

“With this lawsuit, we are seeking a court order to make sure this law never takes effect,” he added.

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