The Supreme Court Just Stuck up for Abortion Rights in Alabama

The court decided not to hear a case that could have outlawed most second-trimester abortions.

Patrick Semansky/AP Photo

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

The US Supreme Court has decided not to review an Alabama law from 2016 that would have banned the most common method of second-trimester abortion. By not taking up the case, a ruling from a lower court blocking the law will stand, a big victory for abortion providers in Alabama.

Alabama proposed criminalizing the dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedure, which is used in most abortions that occur after 15 weeks. Nine other state —Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia—have also moved to criminalize the procedure.

Lower courts have already blocked similar laws banning D&E in other states, but the Alabama law is the first to reach the Supreme Court. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, roughly 95% of second trimester abortions are dilatation and evacuation procedures.

Randall Marshall, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, said the ban would have effectively ended access to second trimester abortions in Alabama if it had been allowed to take effect.

“We are not surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision to deny reviewing this case,” Marshall said according to the Associated Press. “In doing so, they are upholding the Supreme Court’s own precedent in protecting a woman’s right to access the health care she needs. A woman’s health, not Alabama politicians, should drive personal medical decisions.”

Earlier this year Alabama moved to ban abortions at every stage with some limited exemptions. That law is unaffected by today’s decision, and is currently being challenged in the lower courts. 

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.