Could abortion be legally performed at VA Hospitals and other federal property in Alabama despite a 2019 prohibition on the procedure that is now the state's law after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year?
Recently, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough left open the possibility of VA hospitals offering abortion services in states where the procedure is banned. Earlier this week, VA Birmingham health care executive director Oladipo A Kukoyi informed staff that his office was assembling a "multidisciplinary team" to "explore strategies" for veterans' abortion services.
However, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said performing the procedure as prohibited by the Human Life Act was still a criminal violation regardless if it was performed at a hospital run by the federal government.
During an appearance on Monday's broadcast of Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "Midday Mobile," Marshall said the abortion issue was not one where the federal government can preempt state law.
"Rape and incest is not an exception in Alabama's statute," Marshall said. "And again, understanding that this is not an issue in which the federal government preempts state law, this administration just simply through a press release is not going to bully this state and the backing down from the obligation that we have. And that is to enforce the law that the legislature has adopted. And, in fact, remember that Alabama not only has that Human Protection Act, but we adopted a constitutional amendment several years ago, under which we said very specifically in the language of our constitution that we are a pro-life state. It is one of the things that has allowed us to avoid some of the litigation we've seen in other states where there are state law challenges attempting to revive Roe through languages through various state constitutions.
"But here, Alabama law prevails. It's a criminal act in this state. Whether it occurs in a hospital run by the federal government or a state facility, the law still applies."
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.