A federal judge blocked Alabama’s strict abortion ban Tuesday, which was set to go into effect next month. U.S District Judge Myron Thompson issued a primary injunction Tuesday against the law, which would have made performing an abortion a felony in almost all cases. Abortion providers would face a sentence of up to 99 years in prison with no exception for rape or incest. The only exception is when there’s a serious health risk to the woman. Read more.
A judge has dismissed the case against Marshae Jones, whose fetus was killed during a fight in December.
Circuit Court Judge David Carpenter dismissed the case Saturday morning. He dismissed the manslaughter charge on which Jones had been indicted with prejudice, meaning the charge cannot be refiled.
Bessemer Cutoff District Attorney Lynneice Washington announced Wednesday that she was dropping the misdemeanor charge. Read more.
UPDATED — The town of Pleasant Grove, about ten miles outside of Birmingham, Alabama is a quiet place with one grocery store, a few restaurants and a gun shop. But recently, it has been in the international spotlight.
Last December, in the parking lot of a local Dollar General, Marshae Jones, now 28, got into a fight with 23-year-old Ebony Jemison. Officials say Jones, who was five months pregnant at the time, started the fight, which led Jemison to shoot Jones in the stomach in self-defense, killing the fetus.
Initially, charges were filed against Jemison, but two months ago the Jefferson County Bessemer Cutoff grand jury dropped those charges and indicted Jones instead. They wrote Jones “did intentionally cause the death” of her fetus by “initiating a fight knowing she was five months pregnant.”
The charges against Jones were made public last week when she was arrested and later released from jail on a $50,000 bond. Since then, the case has drawn outrage from women’s rights groups and legal advocates. Read more.
Lawyers for a Jefferson County woman who was charged last week with manslaughter in the death of her 5-month-old fetus filed a motion to dismiss on Monday.
White, Arnold & Dowd P.C. say the charges against Marshae Jones are “completely unreasonable and unjust.” In December, Jones and another woman, Ebony Jemison, got into a fight outside a Dollar General in Pleasant Grove. Jemison shot Jones in the stomach, killing the fetus, and was charged with manslaughter, but a grand jury failed to indict her, believing that Jemison shot in self-defense. On April 12, the Jefferson County Bessemer Cutoff grand jury indicted Jones, saying she “intentionally caused the death of … unborn baby Jones by initiating a fight knowing she was five months pregnant.” Last week, Jones was arrested and charged with manslaughter.
In an interview with WBHM, Attorney Mark White said the ruling was manipulated and unprecedented.
Miranda Fulmore, WBHM 90.3, July 1, 2019
The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Alabama and Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit Friday seeking to block Alabama’s strict new abortion law.
“We are proud to take this fight to the state,” Staci Fox, president of Planned Parenthood Southeast, said. “They asked for it, and we promised it, and today we delivered.” Read more.
Updated — Two IT companies have canceled or put on hold discussions about moving to Birmingham because of the abortion ban signed into law last week, according to Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin.
Woodfin told author Diane McWhorter about the changes for an opinion piece published Saturday on CNN.
McWhorter wrote that Woodfin “confirmed to me today that the abortion ban affected two IT companies considering moves to the city – one canceled outright, while the other ‘put the brakes on negotiations.’” Read more.
Gov. Kay Ivey signed what has been called the nation’s strictest abortion law Wednesday evening, banning nearly all abortions in the state.
“Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, a bill that was approved by overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Legislature,” Ivey said in a statement. “To the bill’s many supporters, 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.”
However, she also acknowledged that the law is almost the same as the abortion ban that has been on the state’s books for more than 100 years. “As today’s bill itself recognizes, that longstanding abortion law has been rendered ‘unenforceable as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade,’” she said in the statement, assuring Alabamians that the state will “continue to follow the rule of law.”
The Senate gave final approval to House Bill 314 Tuesday in a party line vote, with 25 Republicans voting in favor and six Democrats voting against.
The legislation would give Alabama the nation’s strictest abortion law. Georgia and Mississippi recently passed laws that restrict abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Alabama’s proposal would outlaw abortions when a woman is “known to be pregnant.” Current state law prohibits abortions after 20 weeks, unless there is a health risk to the mother. Read more and see how senators voted on the bill.
MONTGOMERY – The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would criminalize most abortions in Alabama but added an exception for victims of rape and incest despite objections from the bill sponsors.
That amendment could be a large part of debate Thursday when the full Senate is expected to consider the legislation.
House Bill 314 is sponsored by Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur, and its intent is to challenge Roe V. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that made access to abortions a constitutional right in the first two trimesters of pregnancy.
“To accept another amendment that weakens the argument or diverts the message that the baby in the womb is a person dilutes the whole message,” Collins told the committee. Read more.
MONTGOMERY — The Alabama House of Representatives approved legislation Tuesday to criminalize almost all abortions performed in Alabama.
Seventy-four Republican House members voted for the bill, three Democrats voted against it. Many other Democrats had already left the chamber in protest when the vote was taken.
House Bill 314 makes performing an abortion a Class A felony, but women who seek or have abortions would not be criminally liable. The only exceptions in the bill are if there is a serious health risk to the woman or if the fetus has a “lethal anomaly.”
The bill now goes to the Senate.
Bill sponsor Rep. Terri Collins, R- Decatur, said on the House floor that it is designed as a challenge to Roe v. Wade, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, and to redefine when life begins.
“When I was pregnant with my first child, my grandmother went with me to have the ultrasound,” Collins said on the House floor while introducing the bill. “When we saw that little hand on the screen, we waved at it because we knew it was a person.”
“Is that baby in the womb a person? I believe our (state) law says it is, and our people say it is, and our technology says it is,” Collins said.
There is no exception for rape or incest in Collins’ bill. Read more.
MONTGOMERY — Legislation to criminalize the performance of almost all abortions in Alabama goes further than many of the more than two dozen anti-abortion bills proposed in other conservative states this year.
The heavy restrictions in the bill are exactly why more than 70 GOP lawmakers have signed on as co-sponsors, hoping the U.S. Supreme Court, now with five Republican-appointed justices, will limit constitutional protections on abortions. Several lawmakers told Alabama Daily News the legislation would be worth a costly legal fight when pro-choice groups challenge it. Read more.