Planned Parenthood And ACLU File Federal Lawsuit Against Alabama Abortion Legislation

REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of Alabama and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America filed a lawsuit Friday morning against restrictive Alabama abortion legislation signed in May.

The ACLU groups and Planned Parenthood filed the lawsuit “on behalf of Alabama abortion providers” in the United States District Court of the Middle District of Alabama, according to a press release provided by the ACLU. Plaintiffs represented in the case include Alabama Women’s Center, Reproductive Health Services, West Alabama Women’s Center, and Planned Parenthood Southeast.

The lawsuit references the abortion legislation passed in Alabama signed by Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey. The governor signed H.B. 314 into law May 15, a near-total ban on abortions that makes no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. The law, which will take effect in six months, will be the most restrictive abortion law in the United States. Doctors who violate H.B. 314 will face a Class C felony, which is punishable by a minimum of 10 years in jail and a maximum of 99 years. (RELATED: Alabama Gov. Signs Most Restrictive Abortion Bill Into Law)

The ACLU claims in its press release that it has never lost in challenges to abortion restriction in Alabama.

People gather at the Alabama State Capitol during the March for Reproductive Freedom against the state's new abortion law, the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S. May 19, 2019. REUTERS/Michael Spooneybarger

People gather at the Alabama State Capitol against the state’s new abortion law. REUTERS/Michael Spooneybarger.

“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,” said senior staff attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project Alexa Kolbi-Molinas.

Kolbi-Molinas added that she believes the law is blatantly unconstitutional.

“The ACLU will not stand by while politicians emboldened by President Trump’s anti-abortion agenda exploit our health and our lives for political gain,” Kolbi-Molinas said, according to the press release.

Staci Fox, president and CEO at Planned Parenthood Southeast, said that Planned Parenthood plans to keep abortion “safe and legal” in Alabama.

“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,” Fox said, according to the press release. “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.”

Planned Parenthood president Dr. Leana Wen claims the Alabama abortion legislation is “a manmade public health emergency” and called the legislation “dangerous, immoral, and unconstitutional.”

“To patients seeking safe, legal abortion care in Alabama: this extreme ban hasn’t gone into effect yet — and we will make sure of it,”  Wen said, according to the press release.

“The facts are on our side,” Wen added. “The public is on our side, and we will do whatever it takes to ensure women across Alabama can receive the health care they need today, tomorrow, and beyond.”

Planned Parenthood did not respond to request for comment.

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