UNITED STATES NEWS

Alabama can’t prosecute people who help women leave the state for abortions, Justice Department says

Nov 9, 2023, 5:11 PM | Updated: 6:32 pm

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday said Alabama cannot use conspiracy laws to prosecute people and groups who help women leave the state to obtain abortions.

The Justice Department filed a statement of its position in consolidated lawsuits against Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, arguing that such prosecutions would be unconstitutional. The lawsuits, filed by an abortion fund and former providers, seek a court ruling clarifying the state can’t use conspiracy statutes to prosecute people who help Alabama women travel elsewhere to obtain an abortion. Marshall has not prosecuted anyone for providing such assistance, but he has made statements saying that his office would “look at” groups that provide abortion help.

The Justice Department argued in the filing that the U.S. Constitution protects the right to travel. The department said that just as Marshall cannot stop women from crossing state lines to obtain a legal abortion, “neither can he seek to achieve the same result by threatening to prosecute anyone who assists that individual in their travel.”

Alabama is one of several states where abortion is almost entirely illegal after the U.S. Supreme Court, in a decision known as Dobbs, handed authority on abortion law to the states. Alabama bans abortion at any stage of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape and incest. The only exemption is if it’s needed because pregnancy seriously threatens the pregnant patient’s health.

“As I said the day Dobbs was decided, bedrock constitutional principles dictate that women who reside in states that have banned access to comprehensive reproductive care must remain free to seek that care in states where it is legal,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement.

The Justice Department asked a federal judge to consider its view as he decides the issue. Marshall indicated he welcomed the fight.

“Attorney General Marshall is prepared to defend our pro-life laws against this most recent challenge by the Biden Administration and, as always, welcomes the opportunity,” Marshall’s office said in a statement Thursday evening.

The legal dispute in Alabama comes as several Texas counties have enacted ordinances, which would be enforced through private lawsuits, seeking to block travel on local roads to get to where abortion is legal. The measures would not punish women who are seeking an abortion but would present legal risks to people who help transport them to get the procedure.

The two Alabama lawsuits seek a ruling clarifying that people and groups can assist women leaving the state for an abortion. One lawsuit was filed by the Yellowhammer Fund, a group that stopped providing financial assistance to low-income abortion patients because of prosecution concerns. The other was filed by an obstetrician and two former abortion clinics that continue to provide contraception and other health services.

United States News

Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Rangers recover the body of a Japanese climber who died on North America’s tallest peak

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Rangers have recovered the body of a Japanese man who died after an apparent fall while climbing North America’s tallest peak, authorities said Tuesday. Denali National Park and Preserve identified the climber as T. Hagiwara, from Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. He was identified by his first initial in keeping with his family’s […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Detroit could be without Black representation in Congress again with top candidate off the ballot

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Detroit Democrat will not appear on the ballot after building significant support within the party in his attempt to unseat U.S. Rep. Shri Thanedar in Michigan’s August primary, after election officials determined that he had not submitted enough valid signatures. Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett’s ruling on Tuesday to keep […]

2 hours ago

DeAnn Kilgore grappled with the unexpected letter from her husband's killer, Michael Moore. Despite...

SuElen Rivera

Letters lead to meeting killer, life-changing moment

DeAnn Kilgore grappled with the unexpected letter from her husband's killer, Michael Moore. Despite initial reluctance, she read it, prompting a profound journey of forgiveness and spiritual healing for herself and her family.

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Hawaii officials stress preparedness despite below-normal central Pacific hurricane season outlook

HONOLULU (AP) — This year’s hurricane season for waters around Hawaii will likely be “below normal” with one to four tropical cyclones across the central Pacific region, forecasters said Tuesday. A near-normal season has four or five cyclones, which include tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes. Last year, during strong El Nino conditions, four tropical […]

4 hours ago

Follow @ktar923...

Sponsored Content by Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Alabama can’t prosecute people who help women leave the state for abortions, Justice Department says