Alabama’s abortion laws are among the strictest in the nation, banning the practice entirely except in the case of “a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.” Furthermore, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall has said that under Alabama’s accessory and conspiracy provisions, those who help arrange and fund out-of-state abortions could be held criminally liable.
“If someone was promoting themselves out as a funder of abortions out of state, that is potentially criminally actionable for us. If there are groups promoting this as part of their services, we will be taking a look at that,” he said on FM Talk 106.5 in 2022.
Citing those comments, the Yellowhammer Fund, an Alabama organization that facilitates out-of-state abortions, is suing Marshall.
According to the Yellowhammer Fund, Marshall’s comments violated their “constitutional rights to free expression, association, travel, and due process and intrude on the sovereignty of state where abortion is legal.”
Matt Clark of the Alabama Center for Law and Liberty disagrees with Yellowhammer's argument.
"The heart of the plaintiffs' arguments is that the First Amendment protects their right to conspire to break the law," he said. "I have never seen a court apply the First Amendment that way. If people conspired in Alabama to kill someone in another state, would any reasonable person argue that the First Amendment protects their right to make those plans? If no, then why is it different when it comes to abortion?"
Clark added that this lawsuit could turn into a major pro-life win.
"[T]he plaintiffs have given Alabama the chance to argue that its law serves a compelling interest, the protection of human life, and that every single life matters," he advised. "If the court agrees, then Alabama could turn this case on its head and score a major win in a post-Dobbs world."
Yellowhammer Fund is represented by the Lawyering Project and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Another lawsuit was filed in Alabama against Marshall, with the West Alabama Women’s Center, Dr. Yashica Robinson, and the Alabama Women’s Center being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Speaking to 1819 News, Marshall's office said, "Attorney General Marshall will continue to vigorously enforce Alabama laws protecting unborn life which include the Human Life Protection Act. That includes abortion providers conspiring to violate the Act."
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated with a comment from Matt Clark of the Alabama Center for Law and Liberty.
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