AG Marshall officially files Supreme Court appeal that could roll back Roe v. Wade
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has officially asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of the state’s law banning dismemberment abortions, setting up what many observers believe could be a historic rollback of Roe v. Wade.
On Thursday, Marshall filed a cert petition with the Supreme Court requesting that the court review the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ August 2018 ruling against the “Alabama Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Act,” which was enacted in 2016. This state law bans the gruesome and most common second-trimester abortion procedure known as dismemberment.
Approximately seven percent of the total abortions performed in Alabama each year are dismemberment abortions, while reportedly 99 percent of abortions performed after the first trimester are dismemberment abortions. State law does allow the use of more humane alternative medical procedures to perform second-trimester abortions.
“The constitutionality of a state ban on dismemberment abortion is an important question of national significance,” Marshall wrote in the brief to the Supreme Court. “At least nine states have enacted laws to ban dismemberment abortion. Litigation over some of these similar abortion laws is pending in the Fifth Circuit, the Eighth Circuit and multiple state courts.”
In a dismemberment abortion, a doctor dismembers a living unborn child and extracts him or her one piece at a time from the uterus using clamps, grasping forceps, tongs or scissors. Marshall argued that Alabama’s law is similar to the federal ban on partial-birth abortions which was enacted in 2003 and upheld by the Supreme Court in 2007.
“The lower courts were wrong to enjoin Alabama from enforcing its ban on the dismemberment of a living fetus. Federal law constitutionally prohibits partial-birth abortions. And there is no ‘meaningful difference’ between death-by-dismemberment abortion in the womb and partial-birth abortion outside it,” Marshall wrote.
He added, “As the court of appeals expressly recognized, only this Court can resolve the inconsistency in treatment between partial-birth and dismemberment abortion. The Court should grant certiorari and reverse.”
This comes after Marshall’s office confirmed to Yellowhammer News in October that this landmark appeal to the Supreme Court would take place. At that time, the attorney general’s office was requesting an extension on a November 20 deadline to file the appeal. This extension was granted, giving the state a new deadline – Thursday, December 20.
Governor Kay Ivey has previously expressed her support for this potentially historic appeal.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn