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Federal judge blocks Alabama's near-total abortion ban, bringing pro-lifers one step closer to a SCOTUS fight

A federal judge blocked an Alabama abortion law that bans almost all abortions from taking effect next month in a ruling on Tuesday, but the state's pro-life public officials are already gearing up for the next round.

District court Judge Myron Thompson issued a preliminary injunction, barring the state's "Human Life Protection Act" from taking effect on November 15.

The law, which Alabama's Republican Governor Kay Ivey signed back in May, drew nationwide criticism from abortion proponents because it makes performing an abortion a felony except in cases where the mother's life is threatened. At the time of its signing, Ivey said, "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." She also acknowledged that the law might be "unenforceable" in the short term, given Supreme Court abortion precedent.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) cheered the decision, crowing that all of the major state-level abortion bans passed this year have been blocked from taking effect by the courts.

But while the ACLU and Planned Parenthood may be happy about the short-term legal victory, the law's proponents are focused on the long-term effort to take this case to the highest court in the land in the hopes of tearing down Roe v. Wade.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall noted that Tuesday's outcome was expected and that the state's legal strategy was based on it.

“The district court’s decision to grant the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction of Alabama’s 2019 abortion law as to pre-viability abortions was not unexpected," Marshall said in a statement. "As we have stated before, the State’s objective is to advance our case to the U.S. Supreme Court where we intend to submit evidence that supports our argument that Roe and Casey were wrongly decided and that the Constitution does not prohibit states from protecting unborn children from abortion.”

“Today’s ruling is both expected and welcomed," said the bill's House sponsor, Republican state legislator Terri Collins. "Our law was designed to overturn Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court level, and today’s ruling is merely the first of many steps on that legal journey. I remain confident that our mission will be successful and appreciate the support of millions of citizens who support our effort to preserve unborn life.”

Collins made a similar statement when the lawsuit was filed back in May: “Our intent from the day this bill was drafted was to use it as a vehicle to challenge the constitutional abomination known as Roe v. Wade."

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