Roe vs. Wade challenge ongoing, Alabama will likely remain a battleground in abortion court fights

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – The United States Supreme Court heard arguments this week over a Mississippi law that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The general fetal viability standard for abortions in the United States is currently 22 to 24 weeks, and abortion advocates argue Mississippi law is an unconstitutional restriction on abortion rights.

But in Wednesday’s oral argument, several judges appeared concerned about Roe v Wade, the seminal U.S. abortion rights case and Planned Parenthood v Casey in 1992, which upheld the right to a woman to request an abortion but also opened the door to some state regulation.

In recent years, Alabama has approved a constitutional amendment that declares there is no right to abortion in Alabama, and the Alabama legislature has approved a measure that would make abortion a felony. This law and clinic access laws in Alabama have been blocked or overturned by federal courts citing the Roe and Casey decisions.

But, the landscape could change, given the High Court case, said Kaitlin Welborn, ACLU Alabama staff attorney for reproductive rights.

“It really depends on what the Supreme Court says,” Welborn told News 19. “If they leave more leeway to say that there is constitutional protection for abortion, that’s a lot different than s. they say there is no constitutional protection for abortion. Anyway, in each case we will have to come back, both sides will come back and reconsider the matter and see if the law is still valid in under the US Constitution or many other laws.

State of Alabama. Representative Terri Collins, R-Decatur, sponsored the abortion bill. She wants to see Roe overthrown and told News 19 she was encouraged by Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s comments suggesting that abortion laws should be run by the states.

“Our bill was designed from the start for the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe vs. Wade,” Collins said. “The purpose of our bill is that the child in the womb is a person. Mississippi’s bill is all about sustainability, but it could end up achieving the same goal.

“I am full of hope and prayer,” she added.

Welborn of the ACLU said the court’s opinion – due to be released in late June – abortion advocates and opponents will be back in court. And, the arguments won’t necessarily depend on the court ruling in Roe that an American’s right to privacy guarantees the right to an abortion.

“We at the ACLU and other organizations also have theories about the constitutionality of abortion that are different from what was originally presented in Roe,” Welborn said. “So we will come back to court no matter what, I think, and we will continue to fight, but the other side will too.”


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