The Supreme Court ruled against hearing Alabama’s case on legislation that bans “dismemberment abortions” on Friday, the Washington Examiner reported.
In February, 21 states filed a petition to hear the case after the legislation was blocked.
However, the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear it means Alabama’s ban on this method of abortion will not remain in place. A federal judge previously ruled that the legislation was unconstitutional.
Officially known as a “dilation and evacuation” abortion, the procedure involves using tools to physically remove a fetus from the womb.
It is explained in detail in the February petition.
“In a ‘dismemberment abortion,’ a doctor ‘dismember[s] a living unborn child and extract[s] him or her one piece at a time from the uterus through use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush, or grasp … a portion of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip it off,’” it read.
Alabama’s law blocked doctors from performing the procedure unless the life or health of a pregnant woman was in danger. No exceptions were made for cases of incest or rape.
The legislation would also see doctors who illegally perform the procedure put behind bars for up to two years.
Supreme Court Justices have already rejected other abortion cases from Indiana and Louisiana.
In August 2018, the 11th Circuit confirmed that Alabama would not be able to enforce its proposed ban on second-trimester abortions.
“In our judicial system, there is only one Supreme Court, and we are not it,” Chief Judge Ed Carnes wrote at the time.
“The primary factfinder is the district court, and we are not it. Our role is to apply the law the Supreme Court has laid down to the facts the district court found. The result is that we affirm the judgment of the district court.”
The Supreme Court was originally meant to consider the case in March.
Justice Clarence Thomas expressed his agreement with the decision to not hear the Alabama case, citing the Supreme Court’s decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Thomas said the Supreme Court must consider an abortion case to revisit a precedent that rules the states must not infringe on a woman’s access to abortion through any “undue burden.”
Describing the precedent as “out of control,” he said Alabama’s case did not offer the appropriate fact pattern to change the precedent.
“The notion that anything in the Constitution prevents states from passing laws prohibiting the dismembering of a living child is implausible,” he said.
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