A federal judge put a temporary stop on an anti-abortion measure scheduled to take effect on November 15 in Alabama.
The ban — described as one of the most far-reaching anti-abortion measures passed by state lawmakers this year — “defies” the Constitution and violates Supreme Court precedent, Judge Myron H. Thompson wrote in Tuesday’s (October 29) ruling, according to the New York Times.
“Abortion remains legal in Alabama,” Randall Marshall, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Alabama, said in a statement following the ruling.
Aside from trying to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion up to the point when a fetus is viable outside the womb, Marshall said Alabama’s anti-abortion measure would become an even bigger expense for taxpayers, who have already taken a hit, reports the New York Times.
“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,” Marshall said. “This ill-advised law will cost taxpayers more money.”
The ACLU and Planned Parenthood challenged the Alabama law on behalf of Dr. Yashica Robinson, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Huntsville who provides abortions, which she described as “essential health care.”
Dr. Robinson also said, “These ruthless attacks from anti-abortion politicians have no place in Alabama.”
The Alabama law, called the Human Life Protection Act, has only one exception for instances where a mother’s health is at serious risk. Otherwise, all abortions are banned in the state, including cases of rape and incest, the New York Times reports.
Under the law, doctors like Robinson who perform the procedure could face felony charges and up to 99 years in prison.
“This is not only a victory for the people of Alabama — it’s a victory for the entire nation,” Staci Fox, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, said in a statement following the ruling, the Associated Press reports. “We said it from the start: the ban is blatantly unconstitutional and we will fight it every step of the way.”
State Senator Clyde Chambliss, the Republican lawmaker who sponsored the anti-abortion measure, called Tuesday’s ruling “judicial activism.”
Chambliss and other supporters of the legislation are still confident they’ll move forward.
While Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey anticipated Tuesday’s ruling, she still felt the hold could prompt courts to “revisit this important matter,” the New York Times reports.
Steve Marshall, the state’s attorney general, said in a statement, “As we have stated before, the state’s 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.”
(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)