A federal judge is blocking the full enforcement of an Alabama emergency order which would put off some abortion procedures during the coronavirus emergency.
In a rare injunction issued on a Sunday, Judge Myron Thompson said Alabama’s rule could effectively keep some pregnant women from being able to obtain an abortion at all.
“For at least some women, a mandatory postponement until April 30 would operate as a prohibition of abortion,” Judge Thompson wrote, “entirely nullifying their right to terminate their pregnancies, or would impose a substantial burden on their ability to access an abortion.”
The judge says the state’s delay can be enforced only on a case-by-case basis, and only after considering several factors, including whether delay would keep a pregnant woman from being able to obtain an abortion at all after the state emergency is due to expire on April 30.
Under Alabama law, most abortions are illegal starting in the 20th week of pregnancy.