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American Civil Liberties Union says it will sue Alabama over abortion ban

The law bans almost all abortions, putting the criminal penalty on doctors who perform them.

Posted: May 15, 2019 7:58 PM
Updated: May 15, 2019 8:49 PM

Now that the Alabama abortion ban is signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey, it's a matter of time before the American Civil Liberties Union files a lawsuit against it.

Their last suit cost Alabama $1.7 million. A Huntsville lawyer told WAAY 31 it won't be the legal fees that cost taxpayers, because the state's Attorney General's Office will handle the suit. It will cost Alabama if the state loses.

ACLU

One Huntsville taxpayer told WAAY 31 that while he's glad the abortion bill was passed, as long as his taxes don't directly go up, he doesn't mind the lawsuit.

"I feel like taxpayer money going to a lawsuit like this could possibly affect how, you know, money is coming in financially for me and if it's going to be more money that I have to pay out on a yearly basis to that, then I'm not really for it," said Kendall McConico-Jones.

The American Civil Liberties Union is already suing other states for their own abortion banning bills, including Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi and Ohio.

"Alabama's is the harshest, therefore, it could be the one that the Supreme Court addresses first," said a Huntsville lawyer, Mark McDaniel.

The bill bans almost all abortions, putting the criminal penalty on doctors who perform them.

When the ACLU files a lawsuit, that suit will then go to district court. Once that ruling is given, McDaniel says it will head to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and they'll rule on it.

McDaniel says no matter the ruling, at each stage, someone will appeal.

"Whoever loses in the lower courts, they're going to take it to the United States Supreme Court," he said.

Then, if the Supreme Court chooses to hear it, the case will be in the hands of nine justices. If a majority rules in favor of the bill, it would likely end Roe v. Wade, kicking the abortion issue back to the states. If the Supreme Court upheld the 1973 landmark ruling, abortion would remain legal in Alabama, and the state could see more lawsuits.

Either way, McDaniel says the vote will be a close one.

"Now, I don't predict which way, but I do predict the vote could be 5-4," he said.

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