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Supreme Court rules against Alabama ban on abortion procedure

Justices rejected the state's appeal to enforce a law that bans "dismemberment abortion."
In this June 20, 2019 file photo, the Supreme Court is seen under stormy skies in Washington.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (AP/WTHR) — The Supreme Court won't revive Alabama's ban on the most commonly used procedure in second-trimester abortions. The measure had already been blocked by lower courts.

The justices on Friday rejected the state's appeal in which it sought to enforce a law enacted in 2016 that bans the abortion procedure known as dilation and evacuation. Opponents, including Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, call the procedure "dismemberment abortion."

Courts have blocked similar laws in Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas.

Court records show 93% of abortions in Alabama occur before 15 weeks of pregnancy. For the 7% of abortions that occur later, almost all are by dilation and evacuation.

In Indiana, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in April challenging the state's attempt to ban the same procedure. Earlier this month, a federal judge asked an Indiana state attorney if there was a legitimate reason for the legislation.

Without the dilation and evacuation, women seeking abortions would need to undergo alternative methods — which are much riskier — like prematurely inducing labor or injecting fatal drugs into a fetus before its removal.

"My goodness, that hardly seems like a solution to this," U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker said about the alternatives.

Barker said she would make a ruling in the case before Monday, July 1, when Indiana's law is scheduled to take effect.

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