Appeals court upholds ruling barring Alabama from prohibiting second-trimester abortions

A federal appeals court on Wednesday reportedly upheld a lower court’s ruling barring Alabama from prohibiting a certain kind of abortion.

The ban, which was struck down by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson in October, criminalized an abortion method that is the most common way of ending pregnancies after 15 weeks. 

The court wrote Wednesday that existing Supreme Court decisions bar Alabama from entirely forbidding the “dilation and evacuation” method of abortion.

{mosads}”In our judicial system, there is only one Supreme Court, and we are not it. As one of the ‘inferior Courts,’ we follow its decisions,” the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in the Wednesday ruling, according to AL.com. “Our role is to apply the law the Supreme Court has laid down to the facts the district court found.”

Alabama state legislature passed the original ban in 2016, banning what is known in the state as “dismemberment” abortions.

Thompson blocked the law in October in response to a lawsuit from the West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa and the Alabama Women’s Center in Huntsville, but the state appealed the ruling. 

Thompson said in the October ruling that the law effectively criminalized abortion after 15 weeks, and imposed an “impermissible burden on a woman’s ability to choose an abortion.”

The appeals court’s decision also noted that more than 90 percent of abortions in the state are performed before 15 weeks of pregnancy, and do not use the dilation and evacuation method.

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