MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AL.com) — Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case on an Alabama abortion law ruled unconstitutional by lower federal courts.
In 2016, the Legislature passed a bill banning a procedure it described as “dismemberment abortion,” a procedure for second-trimester abortions that Marshall called “particularly gruesome.” Marshall said about 7 percent of abortions in the state are done with the procedure.
Abortion rights advocates said the bill outlawed the only method of abortion available in Alabama abortion clinics after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The method is known by the medical term “dilation and evacuation.”
The American Civil Liberties Union represented Alabama abortion providers in a lawsuit challenging the ban. Last year, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on abortion rights.
In August, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Thompson’s decision. Marshall said at that time the state would appeal.
Thursday, Marshall filed a 33-page petition asking the Supreme Court to hear the appeal. Marshall said state law allows alternative methods of second-trimester abortion.
“The constitutionality of a state ban on dismemberment abortion is an important question of national significance,” Marshall wrote in the petition. “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.”