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Judge Puts Temporary Hold on Abortion Restrictions

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Carrie Fiebel, Houston Public Media

Two new Alabama laws restricting abortions were set to go into effect next month, but yesterday, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson blocked them, at least for now.

In the latest chapter of a long-running legal battle, an Alabama law banning a procedure called “dilation and evacuation” and one banning clinics within 2,000 feet of K-8 schools are on hold. They’d been set to take effect August 1, but Thompson issued a temporary restraining order to give the state time to respond to a legal challenge and to give the court more time to consider the case.

Two abortion providers, with help from the ACLU, are suing to have the laws declared unconstitutional. Dilation and evacuation, which the law banning it calls “dismemberment abortion,” is a common second-trimester procedure. The school-proximity ban could close two of Alabama’s five clinics, which account for well more than half the state’s abortions. Supporters of the ban say it protects young students from disruptive protests. Critics say it’s another way to make abortions hard or impossible to get.

Thompson’s order blocking enforcement of the restrictions would expire three weeks from an October 4 hearing.