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Thursday, May 30, 2024 | Back issues
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ACLU Challenges Alabama Abortion Law

(CN) - The ACLU of Alabama asked a federal court to block a new state abortion law that effectively asks certain minors seeking an abortion to stand trial.

The new law "applies to minors who cannot safely obtain a parent's consent and are therefore seeking a judicial bypass of that requirement," the organization says in a written release.

Alabama law requires that minors living in the state to secure the consent of a parent in order to obtain an abortion. But, the ACLU says, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that not all teens come from good homes, and as a result, it said that states that have parental consent laws must provide a way for these teens to seek an abortion without parental consent through judicial bypass.

The problem with Alabama's law, which went info effect July 1, is that it goes well beyond the already daunting judicial bypass process adopted by other states, allowing the district attorney, the guardian appointed to represent the fetus, or the teen's parents to call witnesses to testify against the teen, the ACLU's complaint says

As a result, the teen's teachers, employer, pastor, boyfriend, neighbors and friends could all be notified of her pregnancy and enlisted in an effort to prevent the abortion, the organization continued.

"We all want our daughters to come to us if they get pregnant, and most do. But we all know that, unfortunately, some just can't," says Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project. "Forcing a teen to go on trial to get an abortion doesn't make her any safer, and doesn't bring families together. It just puts her at risk and could lead her to seek an illegal, unsafe abortion. None of us want that."

The plaintiffs in the case are Reproductive Health Services, a licensed abortion facility in Montgomery, Ala., and June Ayers, a registered nurse and the owner of Reproductive Health Services. The defendants are Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange and Daryl Bailey, the district attorney for Montgomery County.

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