Alabama abortion law faces lengthy appeals process

George Petras

Court appeals by the ACLU and Planned Parenthood to strike down an Alabama law that bans abortion in the state could take months or years.

A precise timeline can’t be calculated, but lawsuits are certain. Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed Alabama’s House Bill 314, the Human Life Protection Act, into law on Wednesday.

Indiana and Ohio have enacted laws restricting abortion and other states in the South and Midwest are following suit.

The fight against Alabama's law will start in one of the state’s three U.S. District Courts. A federal judge will likely grant a preliminary injunction to prevent the abortion law from taking effect.

The district court will probably take months to review and decide the case.

No matter how the court rules, the losing side likely will appeal to the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

After that, the case could be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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However, there’s no guarantee the high court will hear the case. Other states have passed abortion laws that also are working their way through the courts.

Alabama’s law is the strictest in the United States, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Abortion would be allowed only when “necessary to prevent a serious health risk” to the mother.

Women are not criminally liable under the law, but a doctor performing an abortion faces a Class A felony charge with a prison sentence up to 99 years. A doctor attempting to perform an abortion would face a Class C felony charge and prison up to 10 years.

 Anti-abortion proponents hope the Supreme Court will use Alabama’s law to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court decision that gives constitutional protection to abortion.

The Alabama House of Representatives passed the bill 74-3 on April 30 and the state Senate approved it 25-6 on May 14. The bill takes effect six weeks after the governor signs it into law.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Alabama abortion law faces lengthy appeals process