Justices won't revive Alabama ban on abortion procedure
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court won't revive Alabama's attempt to ban the most commonly used procedure in second-trimester abortions after the measure was blocked by lower courts.
The justices today rejected the state's appeal and declined to review a lower court ruling that blocked the law. The 2016 Alabama law sought to ban the abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation, a procedure Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall referred to in court filings as "dismemberment abortion."
Lower courts have blocked similar laws in Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, but this was the first case to go before the Supreme Court, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the Alabama law.
Court records show 93 percent of abortions in Alabama occur before 15 weeks of pregnancy. For the 7 percent of abortions that occur later, almost all are by dilation and evacuation.
Randall Marshall, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, said the ban would have effectively ended access to second trimester abortions in Alabama if it had been allowed to take effect.
"We are not surprised by the Supreme Court's decision to deny reviewing this case. In doing so, they are upholding the Supreme Court's own precedent in protecting a woman's right to access the healthcare she needs. A woman's health, not Alabama politicians, should drive personal medical decisions," Marshall said.
Justice Clarence Thomas, who supports overturning the Roe v. Wade decision that first declared abortion rights, did not dissent from the decision to pass on the Alabama case, but described the abortion procedure at issue as "particularly gruesome."
"The notion that anything in the Constitution prevents States from passing laws prohibiting the dismembering of a living child is implausible," Justice Thomas said.
Two Alabama abortion clinics and the ACLU had challenged the 2016 law in court.