The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood have filed a lawsuit to overturn a new Alabama law that outlaws almost all abortions.
The new law would make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony and punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison for the abortion provider. The only exception would be if the woman’s health is at risk. Unless it’s overturned by a judge, the law will take effect in November.
According to the lawsuit, the new law is unconstitutional and would hurt women by forcing them to have a child 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. Yashica Robinson, an obstetrician who provides abortions at the Alabama Women’s Center in Huntsville, is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit and says the new law “further shames” women seeking abortions and “punishes providers like myself, and stigmatizes essential health care.”
“Alabama’s state motto is audemus jura nostra defendere, which means ‘we dare defend our rights.’ That’s exactly what we’re doing here today,” Staci Fox, President and CEO at Planned Parenthood Southeast, stated in a press release. “Abortion has been safe and legal in this country for more than 45 years and we aim to keep it that way. We are protecting the rights of our patients. We are defending the work of the brave folks who came before us. And we are fighting to take this country forward, not backwards.”
Individuals who support the Alabama law said they expected a lawsuit and to lose in court at first, but that they hope that the appeal could eventually land before the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Our intent from the day this bill was drafted was to use it as a vehicle to challenge the constitutional abomination known as Roe v. Wade,” Rep. Terri Collins, the bill’s sponsor, said. “This lawsuit is simply the first battle in what we hope will ultimately be a victorious effort to overturn Roe and protect unborn babies from harm.”