MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Governor Kay Ivey signed the Alabama Human Life Protection Act into law Wednesday, with the understanding that the backlash would be swift.
Even before the near-total abortion ban became law, the Alabama chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said it would file suit over the issue in an effort to keep the law from taking effect.
"We are prepared for it. We have a legal team put together already. A complaint is being drafted and we will file suit," said Randall Marshall, ACLU of Alabama Executive Director. He said the legal team includes the ACLU's national Reproductive Freedom Project and Planned Parenthood.
"It will be enjoined before it comes into effect and it will be tied up in the court for the next few years," he stated.
Of the Act, he said, "It is positioning Alabama as the most extreme state in the country."
It is no secret that lawmakers hoped this Act would be a precursor to overturning the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision in Roe v. Wade.
Upon signing the bill, Governor Ivey said in a statement that the bill reflects Alabamians' values and she disagrees with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, writing in part:
“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.
To all Alabamians, I assure you that we will continue to follow the rule of law.
In all meaningful respects, this bill closely resembles an abortion ban that has been a part of Alabama law for well over 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.”
No matter one’s personal view on abortion, we can all recognize that, at least for the short term, this bill may similarly be unenforceable. As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court even when we disagree with their decisions."Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur.
But the ACLU of Alabama disagrees with Ivey and the bill's sponsors and wants to stop the law before it takes effect 6 months after it was signed.
"The law of the land is, and has been for the last 43 years, that women have the right of access to abortion services and pre-viability. The state can not interfere with that right. We are certainly confident of that because it is clearly established law."
His other complaint is the expense this law creates for the taxpayers to bear.
"There are approximately 14 cases already in the pipeline that makes this bill just totally unnecessary. By the time this case could even get to the Supreme Court, if the Supreme Court wants to revisit Roe v. Wade, they will have already done so. There are currently cases at the Supreme Court, including one from Alabama, that would raise the same issue if the court wants to review it," he said. "That the Legislature would turn its attention to wasting money in this way, I think is shameful."
He did not say when the ACLU lawsuit would be filed, but said it should happen in the coming weeks.
"Although we are moving deliberately to get this done, the law doesn't take effect until 6 months after the governor signs it. If we get this filed in the next few weeks, we will be able to easily get it enjoined before it ever goes into effect," he explained.
No matter what you believe, Marshall said the lawsuit will tie up the Alabama Human Life Protection Act in the legal process so much that it might not get to the Supreme Court for at least three years.
"It will take that long for the case to work its way through the federal district court, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, to even get to where the state could ask the Supreme Court for review," he explained.
The hot-button issue, with the governor's signature, is consuming the state and now the nation. A spokesperson told WHNT News 19 that the ACLU Alabama chapter has already seen a spike in donations and attention on social media. They welcome that because more money in donations leads to their ability to hire more attorneys.