Justices allow dismemberment abortion in Alabama
by Harvest Prude
Posted 6/28/19, 12:38 pm
On the last day of its 2018-2019 term, the Supreme Court declined Thursday to reverse a lower court decision blocking a law protecting babies from dismemberment abortion in Alabama.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a 2016 Alabama law, which would have prevented abortionists from ripping apart living babies and removing them piece by piece from the womb, arguing that it violated the “undue burden” standard established in the 1992 Supreme Court decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The judges ruled that banning the dismemberment procedure would unduly burden abortion access because the practice was so common among abortionists.
In a concurring opinion issued with Thursday’s orders, Justice Clarence Thomas agreed that the case should be denied review but decried both the practice of dismemberment abortion and the “undue burden” standard, which he called an “aberration of constitutional law.” Thomas argued that, “this case serves as a stark reminder that our abortion jurisprudence has spiraled out of control.” But he added that this particular case did not “present an opportunity to address our demonstrably erroneous ‘undue burden’ standard.”
This decision does not impact the status of Alabama’s recent law protecting the unborn from abortion at any stage in pregnancy. That law has not yet been implemented and is currently facing legal challenges that could send it to the Supreme Court in the coming years.
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.