Supreme Court declines to hear Alabama abortion case

Nicholas Sakelaris
Abortion rights activists demonstrate at the Supreme Court on May 21. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Abortion rights activists demonstrate at the Supreme Court on May 21. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

June 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court decided Friday not to get involved in a controversial abortion case in Alabama, in which the state tried to ban what they call "dismemberment abortions."

The high court's decision not to hear the case means the appellate court ruling that blocks Alabama's ban on the procedures -- technically known as dilation and evacuation abortions. They're termed "dismemberment abortions" because the fetus is removed from the womb in pieces.


Lower courts ruled the law placed undue burden on a woman's right to abortion and the alternatives after 15 weeks are unsafe and experimental. Dilation and evacuation abortions are typically performed during the second trimester of pregnancy.

"Restrictions like these have nothing to do with medicine, and everything to do with politicians trying to interfere in a patient's decision and their doctor's recommendation," Planned Parenthood of America President Leana Wen said. "This would prevent doctors from providing patients with the best possible care, and could be dangerous."

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The high court ruling came hours after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit challenging Georgia's anti-abortion law. Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights are party to the suit.


In May, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the "heartbeat law" to ban most abortions after a doctor detects cardiac activity in the womb, which usually occurs after about six week of pregnancy. The law goes into effect Jan. 1. Opponents argue it's illegal.

"[The law] is blatantly unconstitutional under 50 years of Supreme Court precedent," ACLU attorney Sean Young told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Politicians have no right telling women or couples when to start or expand a family. Politicians should not be second-guessing women's healthcare decisions."

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State Attorney General Chris Carr said he's reviewing the ACLU complaint.

Georgia law since 2012 allows abortions through 20 weeks.

ACLU Executive Director Andrea Young said abortion is critical for women to excel in education and careers.

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"Roe versus Wade is critical for women to continue to participate in society the way we do," she said. "We have to protect individuals' right to make the decision that is best for them and their life and their family."

When Kemp signed the bill, he said it will protect life and "ensure all Georgians have the opportunity to live, grow, learn and prosper."

The law is one of several restrictive abortion statutes passed recently in the United States. Anti-abortion advocates hope at least one of the cases ends up in the Supreme Court to challenge its landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion legal nationwide.


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