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Judge: Alabama Abortion Law 'Defies the US Constitution'

Would have made it a felony in almost all cases
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 29, 2019 12:30 PM CDT
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This May 15, 2019, file photo released by the state shows Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signing a bill that virtually outlaws abortion in the state, in Montgomery, Ala.   (Hal Yeager/Alabama Governor's Office via AP, File)

(Newser) – A federal judge on Tuesday blocked Alabama's near-total abortion ban from taking effect next month, saying the law, part of wave of abortion restrictions by conservative states, is clearly unconstitutional. US District Judge Myron Thompson issued an expected preliminary injunction blocking Alabama from enforcing the law that would make performing an abortion a felony in almost all cases, reports the AP. The ruling came after abortion providers sued to block the law from taking effect Nov. 15. "Alabama's abortion ban ... diminishes the capacity of women to act in society, and to make reproductive decisions," Thompson wrote in an accompanying opinion. "It defies the United States Constitution."

Energized by new conservatives on the 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. 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 when the fetus has a lethal anomaly that would cause it to die shortly after birth. None of the state bans has taken effect. Both sides had anticipated the Alabama law would be blocked by a federal judge since it defies current Supreme Court precedent.

(Read more abortion stories.)

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