Lawsuit Filed Challenging Alabama’s Abortion Law

 1502310873 
1558693487
Andrew Yeager, WBHM

Abortion rights supporters march around downtown Birmingham on Sunday, May 19, 2019.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Alabama, and Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit Friday seeking to block Alabama’s strict new abortion law.

“We are proud to take this fight to the state,” says Staci Fox, president of Planned Parenthood Southeast. “They asked for it, and we promised it, and today we delivered.”

Alabama’s law, which was signed by Governor Kay Ivey last week, makes it a felony to perform an abortion at any stage of pregnancy with the only exception for a serious health risk to the woman. There’s no exception for rape or incest. A doctor convicted under the law could face up to 99 years in prison.

The lawsuit says the near ban is unconstitutional and would harm women.

“We hope our state’s elected leaders take note and stop using taxpayer dollars on a legal gamble that they know is unconstitutional and unenforceable,” says Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama.

A spokesman for Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall says Marshall is reviewing the lawsuit and has no further comment.

Supporters of the law say it’s designed to challenge the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide. They also say they expect to lose at the lower court level. Their hope is that the addition of two conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, will mean the high court rules in their favor.

Alabama’s law is part of a wave of state laws that restrict the procedure. Recently approved laws in Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky and Ohio ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. None of the laws have taken effect and all are expected to be blocked by the courts as the legal challenges play out with an ultimate eye on the Supreme Court.

This story includes reporting from the Associated Press.

Updated 11:30 a.m. to include comment from Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office

More Abortion Ban Coverage

Federal Judge Blocks Alabama Abortion Law

A federal judge has blocked Alabama’s near-total abortion ban, which was set to go into effect next month. The preliminary injunction will remain in effect until the “court resolves the case in full.”

Alabama’s Abortion Law Could be Bad for Business

Alabama’s abortion law has yet to go into effect, but it’s already causing ripples in the business community. The law sparked widespread criticism, including a campaign on social media calling for people to boycott the state. Officials with the City of Birmingham say it’s hurting the city’s ability to attract business.

Protesters March to Oppose Abortion Ban

Supporters of abortion rights marched through downtown Birmingham Sunday, one of several rallies across the state in protest of a new abortion ban signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey last week.

Lawmakers Pass a Restrictive Abortion Ban as Time Runs Out in the Session

Alabama lawmakers this week passed what’s considered one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country. We look at the fallout and where this leaves one other major legislative priority here in the state -- prisons.

Abortion Bill Vote Delayed After Commotion on Senate Floor

An abortion bill delayed, a medical marijuana measure advances and a switch-out of a lottery bill ... Alabama Public Television has a look back at this week's action in the Alabama legislature.

Legislative Wrap-Up: Lawmakers Advance Abortion Ban, Education Budget

House members passed one of the strictest abortion bans in the nation this week. And the Alabama Senate passed a hefty education spending plan.

More Abortion Ban Coverage