United States judge blocks MS 'heartbeat' abortion ban

United States judge blocks MS 'heartbeat' abortion ban”

In Alabama, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Friday against the southern state's new near-total ban on abortion.

The ban is due to take into effect on November 15, and if it goes ahead, Alabama abortionists "will be forced to stop providing and/or referring abortions", read the lawsuit filed on their behalf in federal court in the state. The legislation prohibits abortion in almost every case, including in the event of rape or incest, and punishes doctors with up to 99 years in prison for providing one.

Moreover, the law doesn't provide any exception for women who conceived as a effect of rape or incest.

In other states, like MS and North Carolina, women can undergo abortion only within 20 weeks of gestation. "Abortion has been safe and legal in this country for more than 45 years and we aim to keep it that way".

"For over 46 years - since the Supreme Court decided Roe v Wade - US law has recognised the fundamental constitutional right to make the profoundly important and personal decision whether or not to terminate a pregnancy", the lawsuit reads.

The lawsuit is one of several the groups have filed or are preparing to file against states that recently passed strict anti-abortion measures in an effort to prompt the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that guarantees a woman's constitutional right to abortion.

"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.

Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU's Alabama chapter, said the lawsuit was meant to "make sure this law never takes effect".

"This risky, immoral, and unconstitutional ban threatens people's lives and well-being and we are suing to protect our patients' rights", Leana Wen, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.

"This bill is about challenging Roe v. Wade and protecting the lives of the unborn because an unborn baby is a person who deserves love and protection", state Representative Terri Collins, the bill's sponsor, has said.

Eight states have passed bills this year to prevent abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which usually occurs at about six weeks, often before a woman even realizes she is pregnant. But, while signing the proposal into law, Ivey did say that, "to the bill's many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians' deeply-held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God". Justices have not said whether they will hear the case.

And the issue remains divisive nationwide - a 2018 Gallup poll found 48% of USA women identified as pro-choice and 47% as anti-abortion.

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