The Federal District Court for the Middle District of Alabama granted a preliminary injunction on Tuesday blocking the enforcement of the Alabama Human Life Protection Act.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivy signed the act in May, banning nearly all abortions in the state except for pregnancies that threaten the mother’s life. Planned Parenthood and other organizations filed a lawsuit against the Alabama state Attorney General shortly after, arguing that the law violated the constitutional right to an abortion established in Roe v. Wade. The act was scheduled to take effect in November.
District Court Judge Myron Thompson enjoined the ban based on concerns over the law’s constitutionality. In his opinion, Judge Thompson said:
Alabama’s abortion ban contravenes clear Supreme Court precedent. It violates the right of an individual to privacy, to make “choices central to personal dignity and autonomy.” It diminishes “the capacity of women to act in society, and to make reproductive decisions.” It defies the United States Constitution.
The injunction was foreseen by Alabama’s Republican governor and law-makers. In her signing statement for the bill, Governor Ivy characterized the act as “unenforceable” but remarked that “the sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter [of abortion], and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur.”
Lawmakers opposed to the right to an abortion have passed laws in numerous states since the appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court in an effort to have the precedent of Roe v. Wade overturned by the new conservative majority. Similar laws in Georgia and Virginia were also recently blocked by Federal District Courts. The Supreme Court granted certiorari in early October to a challenge to a different Alabama abortion law, its first abortion case since 2016.