Federal judge blocks Alabama's strict abortion ban

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday blocked Alabama's near-total abortion ban from taking effect next month, saying the law, part wave of new abortion restrictions by conservative states, is clearly unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued an expected preliminary injunction temporarily blocking Alabama from enforcing the law that would make performing an abortion a felony in almost all cases. The ruling came after abortion providers sued to block the law from taking effect Nov. 15. The injunction will remain in place until Thompson decides the full case.

"Alabama's abortion ban contravenes clear Supreme Court precedent," Thompson wrote in an accompanying opinion. "It violates the right of an individual to privacy, to make choices central to personal dignity and autonomy. It diminishes the capacity of women to act in society, and to make reproductive decisions. It defies the United States Constitution."

Energized by new conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court, Alabama and other conservative states have attempted to enact new restrictions on abortion in the hopes of getting Supreme Court justices to reconsider Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

A number of states attempted to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The Alabama law went further by attempting to ban almost all abortions with no exceptions for cases of rape and incest.

Related: Stars slam new Alabama abortion bill

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Stars slam new Alabama abortion bill
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Stars slam new Alabama abortion bill
take a look. these are the idiots making decisions for WOMEN in America. Governor Kay Ivey...SHAME ON YOU!!!!
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These statehouses are waging all-out war on women and their right to control their reproductive decisions. This is… https://t.co/L4dMJvQLdD
Of those 25 men who voted to ban abortion in Alabama, I’d like to know how many of them have ever been pregnant. Or… https://t.co/9fJ1ozgZNs
This week, 25 old white men voted to ban abortion in Alabama even in cases of incest and rape. These men in power are imposing their wills onto the bodies of women in order to uphold the patriarchy and perpetuate the industrial prison complex by preventing women of low economic opportunity the right to choose to not reproduce. The states trying to ban abortion are the states that have the highest proportions of black women living there. This is about class and race and is a direct attack on the fundamental human rights women in the US deserve and are protected by under Roe vs. Wade. Our bodies, our choice.
1 in 4 women have had an abortion. Many people think they don't know someone who has, but #youknowme. So let's do t… https://t.co/wOeNHDk5fl
Good grief. Women should have the same autonomy over our bodies that men do. If we don’t have autonomy we don’t ha… https://t.co/XCuHppUK3O
There is a cold place in hell for the Alabama Senate.
This is awful. Outrageous. Unconstitutional. https://t.co/CkDZ25urC2
The retrograde Alabama criminalizes abortion even in the case of rape and incest. Voted for overwhelmingly by GOP m… https://t.co/tjchsPYH4M
There have been nearly 30 bans on abortion introduced, passed, or signed into law in statehouses around the country… https://t.co/poClhe5uG5
THE GOAL IS TO CONTROL WOMEN. https://t.co/EZ4G6zbxUw
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SHAME ON ANYONE INVOLVED IN THIS. #Alabama https://t.co/7G67TfS2HB
The news about Alabama tonight is horrifying. See below for a good local place to donate to fight this. My God what… https://t.co/uhpsc7HGXr
Don’t move forward after reading this like everything is normal. Don’t shake your head at Alabama and then keep goi… https://t.co/TapGRQxc9h
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Every single State senator who voted to restrict reproductive rights for women, was a man. https://t.co/ImAwZfFN4Z
Good morning, women. Make no mistake. This is war.
You’re right to be horrified. Your life and your body are your own. Now we find ways to help those most impacted. L… https://t.co/g3q9cX33jx
This only ends with impeachment - and people in the streets RT @AshleyBC137: 😳😨 https://t.co/Vp3avCA12n
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Passed by the Republican-led legislature, the 2019 Alabama Human Life Protection Act would make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison for the abortion provider. The only exceptions would be when there is a serious health risk to the mother or the fetus has a lethal anomaly that would cause it to die shortly after birth.

None of the state bans has taken effect. Some have already been blocked, and elsewhere courts are considering requests to put them on hold while legal challenges play out.

"This is not only a victory for the people of Alabama — it's a victory for the entire nation. We said it from the start: this ban is blatantly unconstitutional and we will fight it every step of the way," said Staci Fox, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast. Planned Parenthood was one of the groups that sued to block the law.

Randall Marshall, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama said the decision was expected.

"Abortion remains legal in Alabama. The state's repeated attempts to push abortion out of reach by enacting unconstitutional laws restricting abortions has already cost taxpayers nearly 2 ½ million dollars," Marshall said. "This ill-advised law will cost taxpayers more money."

Supporters of the Alabama law have also said they anticipated the action but hope to eventually convince the U.S. Supreme Court to roll back abortion rights. Alabama Republican Rep. Terri Collins, who sponsored the ban, said the ruling "is merely the first of many steps on that legal journey."

"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," Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said in statement.

In a measured statement, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said the ban reflects Alabamians beliefs, but that she also supports the "rule of law."

"This legislation passed with overwhelming support in the Alabama Legislature and was signed into law as a testament to Alabamians' longstanding belief that every human life is sacred. We must continue doing all we can to protect life," Ivey said.

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