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ACLU, Planned Parenthood Sue Alabama over Abortion Bill

(Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit on Friday seeking to halt the implementation of a new Alabama law — perhaps the most restrictive of its kind in the nation — that bans abortions except in cases where the life of the mother is threatened.

The Alabama ban conflicts with Roe v. Wade, the seminal 1973 Supreme Court case that affirmed the constitutional right of women to procure abortions, the lawsuit said, and is hence unenforceable. The plaintiffs write that the law will cause “immediate and irreparable harm” to women seeking an abortion by “forcing them to continue their pregnancies to term against their will.”

“The Alabama legislature has been pushing abortion care further and further out of reach for years with medically unnecessary and politically-motivated restrictions, and this extreme abortion ban shows us just how far they’ll go to push their anti-abortion agenda,” read a statement from senior ACLU staff attorney Alexa Kolbi-Molinas.

“Along with our partners at ACLU Alabama, we just filed a lawsuit, challenging Alabama’s outright abortion ban. We meant it when we said we’d see you in court, Governor Kay Ivey,” Planned Parenthood wrote on Twitter.

Ivey, Alabama’s Republican governor, signed the Human Life Protection Act earlier this month amid extensive media coverage and a firestorm of protests from abortion advocates. The law bans all abortions, with an exception only for those cases where “abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk” to the mother. It makes doctors who perform an abortion subject to up to 99 years in prison, but does not include punishments for women who undergo the procedure.

Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Ohio have also passed strict abortion bans, some of which are currently tied up in the courts. The measures are intended to spark legal challenges that would ultimately leave the issue in the hands of the new, conservative Supreme Court majority.

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