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Federal judge blocks Alabama abortion ban

Josh Moon

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A federal judge in Montgomery on Tuesday morning officially blocked Alabama’s controversial abortion ban. 

The decision from Judge Myron Thompson was not unexpected by either side in the abortion debate. This particular law was, according to the Alabama lawmakers who passed it in the last legislative session, designed to be blocked at the District Court level and eventually find its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Thompson’s action on Tuesday was a preliminary injunction, which prevents the law from being implemented until a more thorough legal review can take place by the court. It will likely be months before the full case is decided in federal court in Montgomery. 

Most legal experts around the country — even those who are opposed to current abortion laws — are skeptical that Alabama’s ban, which effectively outlawed all abortions, will ever be heard by the high court. 

“This is not only a victory for the people of Alabama — it’s a victory for the entire nation,” said Staci Fox, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast. “We said it from the start: this ban is blatantly unconstitutional and we will fight it every step of the way. We will continue fighting this law in court until it is permanently blocked and we will work every day to make sure that abortion remains safe, legal, and available in Alabama.”

The law drew heavy criticism across the country — even from those who aren’t necessarily opposed to limits on abortion rights — because of it lacked exceptions for rape or incest. 

Proponents resisted adding those exceptions, because they said they were concerned it would weaken the bill’s chances to be heard by the Supreme Court. 

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Opponents noted that legal strategy was no excuse for forcing a child to possibly carry to term a child produced by rape or incest.

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