Federal appeals court blocks Alabama anti-abortion law

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The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta blocked Alabama anti-abortion legislation on Wednesday, that would have outlawed a commonly used second-trimester dismemberment abortion procedure.

The legislation, SB363: the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, originally passed in 2016 and called for a ban on dilation and evacuation abortions; during which the fetus is removed in pieces with forceps. This type of procedure accounts for approximately 95 percent of all abortions in the second trimester.

The legislation also allowed an exception in the event of a “serious health risk to the mother.”

Executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, Randall Marshall told the Associated Press that the ruling means “Alabama politicians can’t put an “ideological agenda” over a woman’s health and decision-making.”

“I am disappointed that the 11th Circuit sided with the lower court in this case, but it is encouraging that the court recognized the State’s important and legitimate interests in ending barbaric abortion procedures—in this case, procedures that literally tear apart babies living inside their mothers’ wombs,” Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement. “Our legal team is carefully considering whether we will petition the Supreme Court for review of this case. We expect to reach a decision soon.”

In June of 2016 the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the restrictions, saying they would dramatically cut abortion access and close the state’s two busiest clinics — the West Alabama Women’s Clinic in Tuscaloosa and the Alabama Women’s Center in Huntsville. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the clinics in Huntsville and Tuscaloosa performed 72 percent of the 8,080 abortions in Alabama in 2014.

Scheduled to take effect on Aug. 1 of 2016, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson temporarily blocked the enforcement of the new law in July of that year.

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