Court lifts injunction on state abortion law

Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 11:11 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 24, 2022 at 6:34 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA/WAFF) - Alabama’s attorney general issued a forceful statement Friday in regard to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that overturns Roe v. Wade.

Attorney General Steve Marshal gave notice that “[b]ecause neither the United States Constitution nor the Alabama Constitution provides a right to abortion, Alabama laws that prohibit abortion and that have not been enjoined by a court are in full effect.”

Marshall also gave notice that the state will “immediately” file motions to dissolve any injunction on state laws dealing with abortion that had been halted by the courts. Among those laws was the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, which was one of the strongest bans on abortion in the country when Gov. Kay Ivey signed it into law in 2019. The law made performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony unless the mother’s health was in danger. It did not provide any exceptions for rape or incest.

Friday afternoon, Marshall filed an emergency motion to dissolve a preliminary injunction related to the Alabama Human Life Protection Act in 2019 to, “protect unborn children from abortion.”

Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Marshall claiming that the act violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. With the Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday, Marshall claims the lawsuit, “no longer holds true.”

Later Friday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Myron H. Thompson dismissed the lawsuit against the Alabama Human Life Protection Act.

Marshall issued a statement after the ruling, saying, “The State of Alabama’s emergency motion to lift the injunction and reinstate Alabama’s 2019 law, which prohibits abortions in most instances, has been granted. Both the federal district court and the plaintiffs recognized that there is no basis for a continued stay of the duly-enacted law in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Thus, Alabama’s law making elective abortions a felony is now enforceable. Anyone who takes an unborn life in violation of the law will be prosecuted, with penalties ranging from 10 to 99 years for abortion providers.”

From the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey:

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

In the emergency motion, Marshall said the Supreme Court’s ruling, “extinguishes Plaintiffs’ claims, because their sole challenge to the Act was that it allegedly “violates the rights to liberty and privacy secured to Plaintiffs’ patients by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

Part of the Alabama Human Life Protection Act makes it unlawful for someone to intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion unless an abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit claimed that portion of the act directly conflicted with the Roe v. Wade decision.

It is stated in the document, “When the Court entered the preliminary injunction, precedent dictated that result. It now dictates the opposite. As the Supreme Court now recognizes — and as Attorney General Marshall has argued all along — the Constitution contains no right to an abortion. Plaintiffs’ claims therefore fail on the merits. Attorney General Marshall will soon file a dispositive motion seeking a judgment in his favor. For now, the Court should immediately dissolve the injunction so that Alabama can enforce the law its legislature passed more than three years ago.”

The attorney general hailed Friday as “a truly historic day,” and said “[t]he issue of abortion now returns to the States—and the State of Alabama has unequivocally elected to be a protector of unborn life.”

Marshall also took aim at abortion providers, saying those operating in violation of the state’s abortion laws “should immediately cease and desist operations.”

Marshall also promised to prosecute “to the fullest extent of the law” an act of vandalism or violence “against any crisis pregnancy center, church, or other pro-life entity in retaliation for today’s decision.

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