A federal judge stopped an Alabama law that bans brutal dismemberment abortions from going into effect on Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson also issued a preliminary injunction against a second law prohibiting abortion facilities from doing business near elementary and middle schools, ABC News reports.
The dismemberment abortion ban has the potential to save hundreds of unborn babies in Alabama. In 2014, there were 594 abortions in Alabama that occurred in the second trimester or later, the Montgomery Advertiser reports. Dismemberment abortions, also known as dilation and evacuation or D&E abortions, typically are performed on a nearly fully-formed, living unborn baby in the second trimester. It is a barbaric and dangerous procedure in which the unborn child is ripped apart in the womb and pulled out in pieces.
On Thursday, Judge Thompson blocked both laws, arguing that they would restrict women’s access to abortion in Alabama.
“As explained, in the absence of an injunction, Alabama women would immediately lose the right to obtain a pre-viability abortion anywhere in the State when they reached 15 weeks of pregnancy, whereas all the State will face is that a likely unconstitutional law passed by legislators will not go into effect,” Thompson wrote in his ruling.
He gave similar reasons for blocking the measure preventing abortion facilities from doing business within 2,000 feet of elementary and middle schools. He said the law would have forced two of the state’s busiest abortion facilities to close or move. The two facilities in Tuscaloosa and Huntsville performed more than half of all the abortions in Alabama in 2014, according to the state Department of Public Health.
“The availability of abortions in Alabama would be significantly reduced, and abortions beginning at 15 weeks would become almost wholly unavailable,” Thompson wrote.
The Huntsville abortion clinic opened across the street from a middle school several years ago. According to the Times Daily, the facility administrator, Dalton Johnson, said they moved to that location after being forced out of a building in downtown Huntsville due to the 2013 Women’s Health and Safety Act. The state enacted that legislation in response to multiple botched abortions in Alabama.
The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the two laws earlier this summer on behalf of the two top abortion businesses in the state. WVTM 13 reports the ACLU argued that the laws are an “undue burden” on women’s access to abortion because they could close two of the busiest abortion facilities in the state and severely limit second trimester abortions.
The dismemberment law embodies model legislation from the National Right to Life Committee that would ban “dismemberment abortion,” using forceps, clamps, scissors or similar instruments on a living unborn baby to remove him or her from the womb in pieces. Such instruments are used in dilation and evacuation procedures. Dismemberment abortion bans have been voted into law in Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Mississippi. Similar legislation has also been introduced in Pennsylvania, Minnesota , Idaho, Nebraska, Missouri, Louisiana, Rhode Island, and Utah.
“Alabama children should be protected by law from being torn limb from limb,” said Bill Klein, President of Alabama Citizens For Life, previously. “No human should die this way in a civilized society. It shows a total disrespect for the sanctity of human life.”