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Federal Judge Blasts Alabama AG Over Threats To Prosecute Out-Of-State Travel For Abortions

A federal judge on Monday shot down a series of threats by Alabama’s Republican attorney general to prosecute groups that help women obtain out-of-state abortions, CNN repots. “The Constitution protects the right to cross state lines and engage in lawful conduct in other states, including receiving an abortion,” US District Judge Myron Thomson wrote in a decision that will allow a lawsuit against the AG, to proceed. “Travel is valuable precisely because it allows us to pursue opportunities available elsewhere.” The lawsuit was brought by groups that intend to help woman travel out-of-state for abortions after Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall suggested prosecution might be possible for groups that “aid and abet abortions,” including by helping women travel out of state. “Alabama can no more restrict people from going to, say, California to engage in what is lawful there than California can restrict people from coming to Alabama to do what is lawful here,” Thompson wrote.

That issue of out-of-state travel for abortions has been closely watched by advocates on both sides of the debate as Republican states across the country ban or severely limit access to the procedure in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe. Even before the Supreme Court overturned Roe in 2022, abortion rights groups warned that some states might attempt to limit out-of-state travel for the procedure. Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, nearly two dozen states have banned or heavily limited access to abortion. The decision “brings us one step closer to ensuring that healthcare providers can fulfill their ethical duties to their patients and to establishing that pregnant Alabamians can access comprehensive information about their legal healthcare options.,” said Alison Mollman, legal director of the ACLU of Alabama, who is representing the groups in the lawsuit.


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