A federal lawsuit filed Friday asks a judge to block an Alabama law that outlaws almost all abortions, the most far-reaching attempt by a conservative state to seek new restrictions on the procedure.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood filed the lawsuit on behalf of abortion providers seeking to overturn the Alabama law that 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 exception would be when the woman’s health is at serious risk.

The law is set to take effect in November unless blocked by a judge.

Kelly Thompson stands in front of the Alabama Capitol to protest a law passed last week making abortion a felony in nearly all cases with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest, Sunday, May 19, 2019, in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Kelly Thompson stands in front of the Alabama Capitol to protest a law passed last week making abortion a felony in nearly all cases with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest, Sunday, May 19, 2019, in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

“Make no mistake: Abortion remains – and will remain – safe and legal in Alabama. With this lawsuit, we are seeking a court order to make sure this law never takes effect,” said Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama.

The lawsuit says the Alabama law to criminalize abortion is clearly unconstitutional and would harm women by forcing them to continue pregnancies against their will.

“For over 46 years — since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade — U.S. law has recognized the fundamental constitutional right to make the profoundly important and personal decision whether or not to terminate a pregnancy,” the lawsuit reads.

Dr. Yeshiva Robinson, with The Alabama Women's Wellness Center, talks about how the legislation signed by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey will affect her clinic and access to abortion in Alabama during an interview in her office on Friday, May 17, 2019 in Huntsville, Ala. The Alabama legislation signed into law Wednesday would make performing or attempting to perform an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony. The ban does not allow exceptions for rape and incest. (AP Photo/Eric Schultz)
Dr. Yeshiva Robinson, with The Alabama Women’s Wellness Center, talks about how the legislation signed by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey will affect her clinic and access to abortion in Alabama during an interview in her office on Friday, May 17, 2019 in Huntsville, Ala. The Alabama legislation signed into law Wednesday would make performing or attempting to perform an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony. The ban does not allow exceptions for rape and incest. (AP Photo/Eric Schultz)

The plaintiffs in the case are the three Alabama clinics that perform abortions, Planned Parenthood and Dr. Yashica Robinson, an obstetrician who also provides abortions at a Huntsville clinic.

Emboldened by new conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court, Alabama is part of a wave of conservative states seeking to mount new legal challenges to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

Governors in Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as the sixth week of pregnancy.

FILE - In this Wednesday, May 22, 2019, file photo, Beck Gerritson, president of Eagle Forum of Alabama, speaks at an anti-abortion rally outside the Capitol in Montgomery, Ala. Even as the anti-abortion movement celebrates passage of sweeping bans in several states, a rift is widening between activists who oppose exceptions for rape and incest, and other abortion opponents, including many Republican politicians, who support those exceptions. (AP Photo/Kim Chandler, File)
FILE – In this Wednesday, May 22, 2019, file photo, Beck Gerritson, president of Eagle Forum of Alabama, speaks at an anti-abortion rally outside the Capitol in Montgomery, Ala. Even as the anti-abortion movement celebrates passage of sweeping bans in several states, a rift is widening between activists who oppose exceptions for rape and incest, and other abortion opponents, including many Republican politicians, who support those exceptions. (AP Photo/Kim Chandler, File)

None of the laws has 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.

The lawsuit notes that supporters of the law have acknowledged it is unconstitutional under current Supreme Court precedent.

Supporters of the Alabama law have said they expected a lawsuit and expected to initially lose in court, but they hope the appeal could eventually land before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“My goal with this bill, and I think all of our goals, is to have Roe versus Wade turned over and that decision ability sent back to the states,” Republican Rep. Terri Collins, the bill’s sponsor said when it passed last week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *