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Abortion Bans


Alabama has not repealed its pre-Roe abortion ban, which is unconstitutional and unenforceable.

The ban provides that any person who willfully administers or prescribes to a woman any drug or substance or employs other means to induce an abortion, unless necessary to preserve the woman's life or health, will be fined from $100 to $1000 and may also be imprisoned or sentenced to hard labor for up to a year.  Ala. Code § 13A-13-7 (Enacted 1852; Last Amended 1975).


Alabama outlaws abortion after 20 weeks without an adequate exception to protect women's health or for cases in which the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.  Ala. Code §§ 26-23B-1 to 26-23B-9 (Enacted 1975; Last Amended 2011).

Alabama's law makes abortion after 20 weeks a felony, unless necessary to save a woman's life or to avert serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, not including psychological or emotional conditions.  Physicians in violation of the law would be guilty of a Class C felony which carries a one- to 10-year jail sentence and possibly a fine.  In addition, the law allows the woman or the man involved in the pregnancy to bring a civil suit for damages against the physician.  It also allows the woman, her parents, her husband, her siblings, her guardian, her other health-care providers, or the state attorney general to file for injunctive relief blocking the abortion provider from providing abortion care after 20 weeks in future instances.  Ala. Code §§ 26-23B-1 to 26-23B-9 (Enacted 1975; Last Amended 2011).  

Alabama also has an unconstitutional and unenforceable ban that outlaws abortion procedures as early as 12 weeks.  Ala. Code §§ 26-23-1 to 26-23-6 (Enacted 1997).

A court held that this ban is unconstitutional and unenforceable because it does not contain an exception to protect women's health, and because its wording is so broad that it covers "pre-viability second trimester abortions."  Summit Med. Assocs., P.C. v. Siegelman, 130 F. Supp. 2d 1307 (M.D. Ala. 2001).  The U.S. Supreme Court previously held that a similar ban that lacks an exception to protect a woman's health and that bans more than one abortion procedure places an undue burden on a woman's right to choose and is unconstitutional.  Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914 (2000).

Alabama's unconstitutional and unenforceable law makes the provision of any abortion procedure that falls within a broad definition a felony unless it is necessary to preserve the woman's life.  Ala. Code §§ 26-23-1 to 26-23-6 (Enacted 1997). There is also a Federal Abortion Ban, which applies nationwide regardless of state law.  The federal ban prohibits certain second-trimester abortion procedures and has no exception for a woman's health.  In April 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban, making it the first time since Roe v. Wade that the court has upheld a ban on a previability abortion procedure.  Click here to read more about the Federal Abortion Ban.

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