Judge rules Alabama can't ban abortions as part of coronavirus restrictions

Judge rules Alabama can't ban abortions as part of coronavirus restrictions
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Alabama can’t ban abortions as part of its coronavirus restrictions, a federal judge ruled Sunday. 

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, a President Carter appointee, issued a preliminary injunction preventing Alabama from restricting abortions as part of a ban on elective medical procedures amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Based on the current record, the defendants’ efforts to combat COVID-19 do not outweigh the lasting harm imposed by the denial of an individual’s right to terminate her pregnancy, by an undue burden or increase in risk on patients imposed by a delayed procedure, or by the cloud of unwarranted prosecution against providers,” Thompson wrote in an opinion

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Abortion clinics said they sought the injunction after Alabama refused to clarify that clinics could continue to operate amid the ban on elective procedures, The Associated Press reports

The decision was praised by a lawyer representing the clinics. 

“Preventing someone from getting an abortion doesn’t do anything to stop the COVID-19 virus, it just takes the decision whether to have a child out of their hands,” Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project, told the AP. 

A spokesperson for Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) was not immediately available for comment. 

Legal fights over abortion access amid the coronavirus pandemic are also ongoing in Texas, Ohio and Oklahoma.