UPDATE: The bill to criminalize abortion was filed as companion bills HB314 and SB211 on April 2, 2019. More information about the status and full text of the bill is available here.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – On Wednesday, reports surfaced that the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition will be introducing a bill to criminalize abortion. The full text of the bill has not been released yet, but reportedly, it will make it a crime to provide or aid someone in obtaining an abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest.
This is the latest in a string of anti-abortion bills that have been introduced across the South, with bills passing in Kentucky, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Georgia. The ACLU immediately filed suits and have blocked these bans in Kentucky and North Carolina. The ACLU of Alabama is prepared to sue if the Alabama legislature passes this ban.
“These lawsuits are a part of a plan to overturn Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court. They know they will not win in federal, district, or appeals courts because these bills are flagrantly unconstitutional,” said Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama. “However, if a state loses in lower courts, appeals to the Supreme Court and is denied review, then they will owe potentially hundreds of thousands of taxpayer money in attorney fees. None of these states including Alabama can afford to throw money away like that.”
Alabama currently has a case just like that on appeal to the Supreme Court over an attempt to ban the safest, most used method of abortion for second trimester pregnancies. The state has lost in federal district court and at the Eleventh Circuit. If the Supreme Court does not accept the case, then the state of Alabama will have to pay the ACLU.
The state paid the ACLU and Planned Parenthood $1.7 million dollars in 2016, after the legislature passed a law requiring abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges. This requirement was struck down as unconstitutional.
“Legislators in Alabama have wasted millions of dollars on trying to get involved in a woman’s personal healthcare decisions. They stand to lose millions more if they pass this patently unconstitutional attempt to ban abortion,” said Dillon Nettles, policy analyst for the ACLU of Alabama.
Correction: A previous version of this release said a ban was blocked in Mississippi. It has been changed to correctly identify North Carolina. Lawsuits against Mississippi's ban are still pending.